Constitutive and inducible defences against herbivory in the seagrass Zostera marina versus Cymodocea nodosa

Herbivory is a key factor shaping community structure and function through the control of plant biomass and productivity. Plants have thus evolved strategies to lessen herbivory impact by deploying chemical and structural defences that may reduce their quality as food and affect herbivore preference and/or fitness. Such anti-herbivory defence can be permanently expressed (i.e. constitutive defences) or synthesised on-demand following herbivore attack (i.e. induced defences). Defence strategies are not mutually exclusive in a plant and vary with different herbivory impact. These differences have been studied for a variety of terrestrial systems, freshwater macrophytes and marine algae. However, knowledge about variations in defence strategies in seagrass ecosystems and their underlying factors is scarce. Previous studies regarding anti-herbivory defence in seagrasses display great variances between different herbivore species and within seagrass species. Therefore, the main goals of this study are: (1) to investigate differences in herbivory impact by various seagrass herbivores on the seagrasses Zostera marina and Cymodocea nodosa, (2) their influence on the deployment of constitutive defence in the seagrasses, as well as (3) to test for deployment of inducible defences in Zostera marina in response to herbivory by a grazer inflicting the highest herbivory impact.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Begoña Martínez-Crego
Thesis Institute: Center of Marine Science (CCMAR)

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology