Size and estimated age of genets in eelgrass, Zostera marina, assessed with microsatellite markers

TBH Reusch*, WT Stam, JL Olsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examined the spatial distribution of genotypes in a perennial population of eelgrass, Zostera marina L., at two spatial scales. We mapped and sampled 80 ramets in a subtidal area of 20 x 80 m, and an additional 15 ramets in two 1-m(2) sub-quadrats. Ramets were genotyped for seven polymorphic microsatellite loci. Among a total number of 54 genotypes detected, 12 occurred more than once. The ramets of ten of these genotypes occurred in clusters and represented genets based on their expected multi-locus genotype frequencies. The size distribution of genets was uneven with estimated ramet numbers ranging from 2 to 5000. Whereas some areas displayed a high genet diversity, which may indicate past disturbances, large genets (greater than or equal to 10 m(2)) predominated in other locations of the sampled plot. Spatial heterogeneity in clone distribution was also obvious at the smaller sampling scale (15 ramets sam.. pled within m(2)) were the clonal diversity (genets identified/ramets sampled) was 0.24 in one quadrat, and 0.077 in the ether. Ramets belonging to the largest clone were maximally 17 In apart, which corresponds to a genet age of 67 yr based on annual rhizome growth rates. We conclude that the spatial arrangement of clones in seagrasses allows inferences about the past demography and the disturbance regime at a given site which may prove useful for coastal zone management of ecologically valuable seagrass meadows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalMarine Biology
Volume133
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-1999

Keywords

  • SEAGRASS POSIDONIA-OCEANICA
  • CLONAL PLANTS
  • POPULATION-STRUCTURE
  • GENOTYPIC DIVERSITY
  • BREEDING SYSTEMS
  • MYTILUS-EDULIS
  • PATTERNS
  • GROWTH
  • DYNAMICS
  • BEDS

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