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      Assessment of the ecological structure of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile on the northern coast of Lazio, Italy (central Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean)

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      Italian Botanist

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The ecological structure of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows was evaluated on the northern coast of Lazio, Italy (central Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean sea). This is an infra-littoral zone with a wide range of anthropogenic activities and high geo-morphological variability, which reflects heterogeneity in shoot density, leaf morphology and biomass in fragmented patches. Genetic variability in populations corresponds to the formation of 3 sub-clusters, in the diverse impacted zones (north, centre and south), being correlated to the geographical distance between sites. AMOVA estimated a high genetic variation showing 43.05% individual differences within populations with a marked differentiation among the populations (56.9%) indicated by Fst value (0.57). These results revealed the role of the genetic structure of seagrasses for determining selectivity of fragmented habitat, in response to natural drivers. They showed that site-specific self-recruitment is related to biodiversity capacity and to the geo-morphological characteristic of the coast.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Using the AMOVA framework to estimate a standardized genetic differentiation measure.

          Comparison of population structure between studies can be difficult, because the value of the often-used FST-statistic depends on the amount of genetic variation within populations. Recently, a standardized measure of genetic differentiation was developed based on GST, which addressed this problem, though no method was provided to estimate this standardized measure without bias. Here I present a method to estimate a standardized measure of population differentiation based on the analysis of molecular variance framework. One advantage of the method is that it can be readily expanded to include different hierarchical levels in the tested population structure.
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            The future of seagrass meadows

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              Genetic diversity enhances the resistance of a seagrass ecosystem to disturbance.

              Motivated by recent global reductions in biodiversity, empirical and theoretical research suggests that more species-rich systems exhibit enhanced productivity, nutrient cycling, or resistance to disturbance or invasion relative to systems with fewer species. In contrast, few data are available to assess the potential ecosystem-level importance of genetic diversity within species known to play a major functional role. Using a manipulative field experiment, we show that increasing genotypic diversity in a habitat-forming species (the seagrass Zostera marina) enhances community resistance to disturbance by grazing geese. The time required for recovery to near predisturbance densities also decreases with increasing eelgrass genotypic diversity. However, there is no effect of diversity on resilience, measured as the rate of shoot recovery after the disturbance, suggesting that more rapid recovery in diverse plots is due solely to differences in disturbance resistance. Genotypic diversity did not affect ecosystem processes in the absence of disturbance. Thus, our results suggest that genetic diversity, like species diversity, may be most important for enhancing the consistency and reliability of ecosystems by providing biological insurance against environmental change.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Italian Botanist
                IB
                Pensoft Publishers
                2531-4033
                January 09 2020
                January 09 2020
                : 9
                : 1-19
                Article
                10.3897/italianbotanist.9.46426
                © 2020

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