Seagrass meadow found to be composed of extremely old, large organisms

Feb 01, 2012

Mediterranean seagrass meadows contain genetically identical clones up to 15 kilometers apart, suggesting that these organisms must be thousands to tens of thousands of years old, as reported in the Feb. 1 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

The seagrass, Posidonia oceanica, reproduces asexually, which can result in single organisms that are very large and very old. To investigate the P. oceanica meadow, the researchers, led by Sophie Arnaud-Haond of the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER) and The University of the Algarve in Portugal and Carlos M. Duarte from the CSIC-IMEDEA in Spain, sampled populations across 3500 kilometers of the Mediterranean. Not all the seagrass they found was genetically identical, but those that were suggest both extreme size and age.

Seagrasses are the basis of essential but are waning worldwide, and P. oceanica meadows are declining at an estimated rate of about 5% per year. The results reported in suggest that clones of that species have adapted to a broad range of , but the unprecedented rate of , together with the steep decline in seagrasses already observed for the past 20 years, are raising serious concerns about the continued survival of this long-lived species.

Explore further: Timing for spay and neuter depends on the individual pet and owner

More information: Arnaud-Haond S, Duarte CM, Diaz-Almela E, Marba` N, Sintes T, et al. (2012) Implications of Extreme Life Span in Clonal Organisms: Millenary Clones in Meadows of the Threatened Seagrass Posidonia oceanica. PLoS ONE 7(2): e30454. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030454

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nitrogen retained through loss

May 22, 2008

The nitrogen cycle plays a major role in seagrass fields. Dutch researcher Arie Vonk studied the nitrogen dynamics of seagrasses in Indonesia. He discovered that the interaction between seagrasses, animals and microorganisms ...

Loss of coastal seagrass habitat accelerating globally

Jun 29, 2009

An international team of scientists warns that accelerating losses of seagrasses across the globe threaten the immediate health and long-term sustainability of coastal ecosystems. The team has compiled and analyzed the first ...

Seagrass ecosystems at a 'global crisis'

Dec 01, 2006

An international team of scientists is calling for a targeted global conservation effort to preserve seagrasses and their ecological services for the world’s coastal ecosystems, according to an article published in the ...

Study: World's seagrass beds are declining

Mar 28, 2006

A University of New Hampshire scientist says the world's seagrass beds -- important habitats, food sources and sediment stabilizers -- are disappearing.

Recommended for you

Baleen whales hear through their bones

5 hours ago

Understanding how baleen whales hear has posed a great mystery to marine mammal researchers. New research by San Diego State University biologist Ted W. Cranford and University of California, San Diego engineer ...

Starving honey bees lose self-control

10 hours ago

A study in the journal of the Royal Society Biology Letters has found that starving bees lose their self-control and act impulsively, choosing small immediate rewards over waiting for larger rewards.

Chimps with higher-ranking moms do better in fights

Jan 28, 2015

For chimpanzees, just like humans, teasing, taunting and bullying are familiar parts of playground politics. An analysis of 12 years of observations of playground fights between young chimpanzees in East ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.