Effects of seed source, sediment type, and burial depth on mixed-annual and perennial Zostera marina L. seed germination and seedling establishment

Jarvis, Jessie C., and Moore, Kenneth A. (2015) Effects of seed source, sediment type, and burial depth on mixed-annual and perennial Zostera marina L. seed germination and seedling establishment. Estuaries and Coasts, 38 (3). pp. 964-978.

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Seed germination and seedling establishment directly affect the resiliency of seagrasses to disturbance or environmental stress. The objectives of this study were to compare maximum seed germination, time to germination, nongerminated seed viability, and initial seedling biomass between mixed-annual and perennial Zostera marina seed populations in coarse (>90 % sand) and fine (<50 % sand) sediments and at shallow (1 cm) and deep (5 cm) burial depths. Perennial seeds collected from Virginia and North Carolina had greater maximum germination, shorter time to germination, and greater seedling biomass compared to mixed-annual seeds collected from North Carolina. For both mixed-annual and perennial seeds, maximumgermination and seedling biomass were the greatest in shallow fine sediments. Mixed-annual seeds buried at 1 cm had a shorter time to germination than in the deep treatments; however, sediment type did not affect mean time to germination. Perennial seeds had a shorter time to germination in shallow compared to deep burial depths and in fine compared to coarse sediments. Cues for germination were present at the deeper depths; however, the cotyledon failed to emerge from the sediment surface resulting in mortality at depths of 5 cm. The greater performance of perennial compared to mixed-annual seeds and seedlings demonstrate the trade-offs which can occur between Z. marina reproductive strategies. Reduced germination of Z. marina seeds buried ≥5 cm and in coarse sediments may represent a possible bottleneck in successful sexual reproduction, feasibly affecting the resiliency to and recovery from disturbance for both perennial and mixed-annual Z. marina beds.

Item ID: 35031
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1559-2731
Keywords: Zostera marina, mixed-annual, seeds, sediment, viability
Funders: National Estuarine Research Reserve Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Virginia Institute of Marine Science Graduate Research Assistantship Program
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2014 04:27
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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