Responses of Invasive and Native Populations of the Seagrass Halophila stipulacea to Simulated Climate Change

Hung Manh Nguyen, Narendra Singh Yadav, Simon Barak, Fernando P. Lima, Yuval Sapir, Gidon Winters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Climate change fuels invasions of plant species and displacement of local plants. Little is known about the ecophysiological adaptation of the invasive species, and their ability to cope with the changing conditions in their new habitat. Halophila stipulacea, a tropical seagrass native to the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA; northern Red Sea), became a Lessepsian migrant spreading within the eastern Mediterranean where it could potentially outcompete local species. We analyzed temperature records in the last 35 years and show that water temperature has increased faster in the eastern Mediterranean Sea compared to GoA, suggesting that H. stipulacea’s invasive success is associated with adaptation to thermal warming. Furthermore, we compared the responses of native (Eilat, Israel) and invasive (Limassol, Cyprus) H. stipulacea plants to current (26°C) and predicted thermal maxima (29 and 32°C) in a controlled experimental microcosm. Morphological and photo-physiological results showed negative effects of heat stress on the native plants while un-affected/or even enhanced performance in their invasive counterparts. Gene expression, studied for the 1st time in H. stipulacea, pointed to differences in the molecular responses of two populations to thermal stress. Results predict that sea warming will cause vast reductions in H. stipulacea meadows growing in the GoA while it will facilitate H. stipulacea’s spread within the Mediterranean Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Article number812
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Halophila stipulacea
  • Lessepsian migrant
  • global warming
  • invasive species
  • thermal stress
  • tropical seagrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Responses of Invasive and Native Populations of the Seagrass Halophila stipulacea to Simulated Climate Change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this