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Thermal performance of seaweeds and seagrasses across a regional climate gradient


Bennett, S and Vaquer-Sunyer, R and Jorda, G and Forteza, M and Roca, G and Marba, N, Thermal performance of seaweeds and seagrasses across a regional climate gradient, Frontiers in Marine Science, 9 Article 733315. ISSN 2296-7745 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2022 Bennett, Vaquer-Sunyer, Jord, Forteza, Roca and Marb. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.733315


Comparative patterns in thermal performance between populations have fundamental implications for a species thermal sensitivity to warming and extreme events. Despite this, within-species variation in thermal performance is seldom measured. Here we compare thermal performance both within-species and between-species, for two species of seagrass (Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa) and two species of seaweed (Padina pavonica and Cystoseira compressa) across the Mediterranean Sea. Experimental populations from four locations representing between 75 and 99% of each species thermal distribution and a 6C gradient in summer temperatures, were exposed to 10 temperature treatments between 15 and 36C. Experimental thermal performance displayed the greatest variability between species, with optimal temperatures differing by over 10C within the same location. Within-species differences in thermal performance were also important for P. oceanica which displayed large thermal safety margins within cool and warm-edge populations and small safety margins within central populations. Our findings suggest patterns of thermal performance in Mediterranean seagrasses and seaweeds retain deep "pre-Mediterranean" evolutionary legacies, suggesting marked differences in sensitivity to warming within and between benthic marine communities.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:macroalgae, local adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, niche conservatism, climate change
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments
UTAS Author:Bennett, S (Dr Scott Bennett)
ID Code:149330
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DE200100900)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-03-25
Last Modified:2022-04-07
Downloads:7 View Download Statistics

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