Methods for assessing seagrass seed ecology and population genetics

Inglis, Graeme J., and Waycott, Michelle (2001) Methods for assessing seagrass seed ecology and population genetics. In: Short, F.T., and Coles, R.G., (eds.) Global Seagrass Research Methods. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 123-140.

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Abstract

Ecological populations result from processes that affect the birth, growth, survival and interaction of genetic individuals (genets). In seagrasses and other flowering plants, the recruitment of new genets occurs through the production and germination of seeds. Seeds variously provide a means by which plants disperse to new locations, recover from catastrophic disturbances, or survive unfavourable periods for growth. They are, therefore, an important demographic stage in plant populations. Study of the recruitment and survival of genets in seagrass populations is complicated by the difficulty in distinguishing one genet from another. The clonal growth aspect of seagrasses means that a meadow could be comprised of just a single, large individual or many smaller, intermingled genets. Knowledge of the number and distribution of genets is important for understanding the pattern of flowering and seed production. For example, seed production may vary greatly among separate meadows of the same species, as well as within meadows, because differences in the size and spatial arrangement of genets affect rates of pollination and genetic exchange (Figure6-1). Interspecific differences in reproductive effort can also have a basis in local population structure, as species with potentially long-lived plants (e.g., Posidonia) are likely to form larger genets and might be expected to invest fewer resources into annual seed production than shorter-lived species (e.g., Halophila). For these reasons, studies of the genetic structure of seagrass meadows and their reproductive ecology are intimately linked. By relating the genetic composition of meadows to their reproductive behaviour we may begin to determine the effective size and spatial extent of seagrass populations and the processes by which they are established and maintained. In this chapter we review some of the methods that can be applied to study the seed ecology and genetic structure of seagrass meadows.

Item ID: 14321
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: ecology; population genetics; research methodology; seagrass
ISBN: 978-0-444-50891-1
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2017 02:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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