Although most seagrasses inhabit subtidal areas, a few species occur in the intertidal zone. The seagrass, Zostera japonica Asch. & Graebn., is an intertidal seagrass species, and thus this species may be vulnerable to environmental changes associated with sea level rise
due to climate change. We examined the effects of continuous submergence conditions, which might be caused by sea level rise, on the growth of the intertidal seagrass, Z. japonica. In the present study, submerged conditions were generated in a Z. japonica meadow in the intertidal
zone using transparent cylindrical cores, and the growth responses to the inundation conditions were examined. Daily photon flux density and temperature were not significantly different between the manipulated submerged and the control intertidal conditions during the experimental period.
Increases in shoot height, biomass, and leaf productivity were among the acclimatory responses of Z. japonica to the inundation conditions. Shoot density, however, decreased rapidly in the submerged conditions as a result of the self-shading induced by taller and larger shoot sizes.
Thus, prolonged inundation, which would be induced by a rise in sea level, had both positive and negative effects on the growth of the intertidal seagrass, Z. japonica, which exhibited plasticity at the individual and population levels. According to the results of our study, the restricted
distribution of Z. japonica in the intertidal zone may not be a consequence of tidal inundation stress in the subtidal zone.
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Document Type: Research Article
Department of Biological Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Republic of Korea
Department of Biological Sciences, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Republic of Korea;, Email: [email protected]
Publication date: 01 October 2018
This article was made available online on 19 February 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Growth responses of the intertidal seagrass Zostera japonica to manipulated sea level rise conditions".
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