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Predictive model of seagrass growth and meadow spreads

Objective

Seagrass meadows are among the richest and most productive ecosystems on earth. At present, theyare declining worldwide as a result of natural and human-induced disturbances. Numerous countrieshave adopted initiatives to protect and restore habitats domina ted by seagrass species. Successfulrestoration requires a detailed understanding of seagrass biology and integration of this knowledgeinto predictive models. The clonal nature of seagrass growth, by the regular addition of modules, hasallowed the simulatio n of seagrass clone spreading on the basis of their own growth rules and thepercentage of rhizome branching. However, construction of general predictive models for seagrasses,comparable to what has been accomplished in terrestrial plants, is still not poss ible. Therefore, themain objective of the present proposal is the construction of a spatially explicit predictive model ofseagrass growth and meadow spreading. We will assess how meadow growth and branching is relatedto the dynamic variables describing sho ot and rhizome growth, how these dynamic variables dependon the abiotic environment, and how the plants present in the meadow influence the most criticalabiotic variables. Thus, our studies will describe interactions between plants in a meadow primarilyvia the abiotic environment on the one hand, and via growth and branching parameters on the otherhand.In order to reach these objectives, we will adopt two complementary approaches: 1-monitoringbiological and abiotic variables along transects in natural meado ws and, 2- studying seagrassdevelopment and the resulting abiotic gradients under well-controlled conditions in mesocosms andflumes.Data derived from the foregoing studies will be used to implement the spatially explicit dynamicmodel. In the model, individ ual plant elements (shoots, nodes, rhizome and roots) will be linked bygrowth and branching rules, as well as by their physiological status (e.g. growth rate). Plant#

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-MOBILITY-5
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Funding Scheme

EIF - Marie Curie actions-Intra-European Fellowships

Coordinator

ROYAL NETHERLANDS ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, NETHERLANDS INSTITUTE OF ECOLOGY - CENTRE FOR ESTUARINE AND MARINE ECOLOGY
Address
Korringaweg 7
Yerseke
Netherlands