Presentation Abstract

Large-scale eelgrass restoration in an environment as complex as the Salish Sea requires estimating the effects of a wide range of environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, salinity, turbidity) on the effectiveness of restoration actions in different locations. We have developed a spatial model of eelgrass growth in response to environmental drivers, based on physiological data collected in Sequim Bay, WA, to aid in identifying restoration sites. However, field tests suggest that the model underestimates the capability of eelgrass to grow in conditions more stressful than Sequim Bay. A critical uncertainty is the extent of localized genotypic and/or phenotypic adaptations by eelgrass to high temperature and light limitation, which would affect our ability to predict restoration success over large scales with a single model. We have conducted an initial set of experiments to explore the physiological response of eelgrass collected from multiple locations across a temperature stress gradient. We collected eelgrass samples from two high-stress locations (South Sound and Hood Canal), and one low-stress location (Sequim Bay) and measured photosynthesis and respiration rates of cleaned, healthy leaf sections via instantaneous oxygen flux in light and dark bottles across a range of temperatures. The samples had notable differences in morphology and epiphytes. We found that respiration and photosynthesis did not differ between sites across the temperature treatments. Counter to expectations, eelgrass from more stressful locations had higher respiration rates, though the difference was not statistically significant. We observed significantly higher gross and net productivity at 25° C for eelgrass from Hood Canal. The results suggest that eelgrass populations throughout Puget Sound may not be as differentially adapted to temperature as we expected, despite discrepancies between modeling and field observations. We hope to extend this study with additional data collection, including moderate- to long-term common garden growth experiments for multiple stressors.

Session Title

Seagrass Cross-Border Connections: Stressors and Disturbance

Keywords

Eelgrass, Restoration, Temperature

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-475

Start Date

5-4-2018 1:45 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 2:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 1:45 PM Apr 5th, 2:00 PM

Is local adaptation a factor in planning eelgrass restoration? Initial assessment of responses to temperature by eelgrass growing across a stressor gradient

Large-scale eelgrass restoration in an environment as complex as the Salish Sea requires estimating the effects of a wide range of environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, salinity, turbidity) on the effectiveness of restoration actions in different locations. We have developed a spatial model of eelgrass growth in response to environmental drivers, based on physiological data collected in Sequim Bay, WA, to aid in identifying restoration sites. However, field tests suggest that the model underestimates the capability of eelgrass to grow in conditions more stressful than Sequim Bay. A critical uncertainty is the extent of localized genotypic and/or phenotypic adaptations by eelgrass to high temperature and light limitation, which would affect our ability to predict restoration success over large scales with a single model. We have conducted an initial set of experiments to explore the physiological response of eelgrass collected from multiple locations across a temperature stress gradient. We collected eelgrass samples from two high-stress locations (South Sound and Hood Canal), and one low-stress location (Sequim Bay) and measured photosynthesis and respiration rates of cleaned, healthy leaf sections via instantaneous oxygen flux in light and dark bottles across a range of temperatures. The samples had notable differences in morphology and epiphytes. We found that respiration and photosynthesis did not differ between sites across the temperature treatments. Counter to expectations, eelgrass from more stressful locations had higher respiration rates, though the difference was not statistically significant. We observed significantly higher gross and net productivity at 25° C for eelgrass from Hood Canal. The results suggest that eelgrass populations throughout Puget Sound may not be as differentially adapted to temperature as we expected, despite discrepancies between modeling and field observations. We hope to extend this study with additional data collection, including moderate- to long-term common garden growth experiments for multiple stressors.