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A Pleistocene legacy structures variation in modern seagrass ecosystems

J. Emmett Duffy Orcid Logo, John J. Stachowicz Orcid Logo, Pamela L. Reynolds, Kevin A. Hovel, Marlene Jahnke, Erik E. Sotka Orcid Logo, Christoffer Boström, Katharyn E. Boyer Orcid Logo, Mathieu Cusson Orcid Logo, Johan Eklöf, Aschwin H. Engelen Orcid Logo, Britas Klemens Eriksson, F. Joel Fodrie Orcid Logo, John Griffin Orcid Logo, Clara M. Hereu Orcid Logo, Masakazu Hori, A. Randall Hughes Orcid Logo, Mikhail V. Ivanov Orcid Logo, Pablo Jorgensen Orcid Logo, Claudia Kruschel, Kun-Seop Lee Orcid Logo, Jonathan S. Lefcheck Orcid Logo, Per-Olav Moksnes, Masahiro Nakaoka Orcid Logo, Mary I. O’Connor Orcid Logo, Nessa E. O’Connor Orcid Logo, Robert J. Orth Orcid Logo, Bradley J. Peterson, Henning Reiss, Katrin Reiss, J. Paul Richardson, Francesca Rossi Orcid Logo, Jennifer L. Ruesink, Stewart T. Schultz, Jonas Thormar Orcid Logo, Fiona Tomas, Richard Unsworth Orcid Logo, Erin Voigt, Matthew A. Whalen, Shelby L. Ziegler Orcid Logo, Jeanine L. Olsen

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume: 119, Issue: 32

Swansea University Authors: John Griffin Orcid Logo, Richard Unsworth Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Distribution of Earth’s biomes is structured by the match between climate and plant traits, which in turn shape associated communities and ecosystem processes and services. However, that climate–trait match can be disrupted by historical events, with lasting ecosystem impacts. As Earth’s environment...

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Published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 0027-8424 1091-6490
Published: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2022
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60794
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Abstract: Distribution of Earth’s biomes is structured by the match between climate and plant traits, which in turn shape associated communities and ecosystem processes and services. However, that climate–trait match can be disrupted by historical events, with lasting ecosystem impacts. As Earth’s environment changes faster than at any time in human history, critical questions are whether and how organismal traits and ecosystems can adjust to altered conditions. We quantified the relative importance of current environmental forcing versus evolutionary history in shaping the growth form (stature and biomass) and associated community of eelgrass (Zostera marina), a widespread foundation plant of marine ecosystems along Northern Hemisphere coastlines, which experienced major shifts in distribution and genetic composition during the Pleistocene. We found that eelgrass stature and biomass retain a legacy of the Pleistocene colonization of the Atlantic from the ancestral Pacific range and of more recent within-basin bottlenecks and genetic differentiation. This evolutionary legacy in turn influences the biomass of associated algae and invertebrates that fuel coastal food webs, with effects comparable to or stronger than effects of current environmental forcing. Such historical lags in phenotypic acclimatization may constrain ecosystem adjustments to rapid anthropogenic climate change, thus altering predictions about the future functioning of ecosystems.
Item Description: Data Availability:All data used in the analyses, and associated R code, are available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6808753(64), with the exception ofthe genetic data, available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3660013(65).
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Funders: This work was supported by the US NSF (OCE-1031061, OCE-1336206, OCE0-1336741, OCE-1336905) and the Smithsonian Institution. J.L.O. thanks Jan Veldsink for DNA extractions and microsatellite gen-otyping. F.T. was supported by Jose Castillejo Award CAS14/00177. A.H.E. was supported by the FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology) through ProjectUIDB/04326/2020 and Contract CEECINST/00114/2018.
Issue: 32