Effects of temperature and hypoxia on respiration, photorespiration, and photosynthesis of seagrass leaves from contrasting temperature regimes
ICES Journal of Marine Science
In near-future climate change scenarios, elevated ocean temperatures with higher and more frequent peaks are anticipated than at present. Moreover, increased eutrophication and higher primary and secondary productivity will affect the oxygen levels of shallow-water coastal ecosystems, creating hypoxic conditions that can be experienced regularly, especially in dense vegetated systems. These climate-related events may impose detrimental effects on the primary productivity of seagrass. To
... eagrass. To evaluate such effects, this study combined gas exchange measurements with pulse amplitude-modulated fluorometry to assess the impact of short-time exposure to a range of water temperatures at ambient and low-oxygen levels on mitochondrial respiration, chlorophyll fluorescence (based on the Fv/F0 ratio), photosynthetic oxygen evolution, and photorespiration in leaf segments of the temperate seagrass Zostera marina and the tropical seagrass Thalassia hemprichii. We found that mitochondrial respiration in both Z. marina and T. hemprichii increased with higher temperatures up to 40°C and that low O2 caused significantly reduced respiration rates, particularly in T. hemprichii. Elevated water temperature had a clear negative effect on the Fv/F0 of both seagrass species, indicating damage or inactivation of the photosynthetic apparatus, even when light is not present. Moreover, damage to the photosynthetic apparatus was observed as an effect of elevated temperature combined with low O2 during darkness, resulting in subsequent lower photosynthesis in light. Photorespiration was present, but not promoted by increased temperature alone and will thus not further contribute to productivity losses during warmer events (when not carbon limited). This study demonstrates the negative impact of hypoxic stress and elevated temperatures on seagrass productivity, which may influence the overall health of seagrass plants as well as oxygen and carbon fluxes of shallow-water coastal ecosystems in warmer climate scenarios.