Korpo 2024 – Ongoing

Archipelagic highly dynamic environmental (temperature) gradients challenge organisms to adapt and survive, as they have to cope with rapid changes over multiple temporal scales. Importantly, it is unknown how the environmental background can shape the response of seagrass to heat stress and if seagrass living in high-variability environments (more stress), can adapt better towards heat stress than sheltered seagrass (environment more constant). The predominantly monospecific, but presumably phenotypically diverse seagrass meadows in the Archipelago Sea, therefore, provide an ideal model system to test this concept. Through the simulation of thermal gradients in mesocosm settings, this project (a) quantifies phenotypic traits of selected seagrass populations across and within seagrass clones, (b) assesses their potential for adaptation to environmental change on heat resistance, and (c) correlates population origin with heat tolerance and distinct ecological functions (e.g. nutrient uptake, sediment stabilisation).