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Using an individual based model to evaluate the effects of climate change on the reproductive phenology of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) along a latitudinal gradient (master’s thesis).

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Foley, J. L.


Graduate School of the University of Maryland, Volume Master of Science, p.253 (2017)


<p>I explored the effects of climate change on the reproductive biology of the clonal<br />
marine angiosperm Zostera marina L. (eelgrass) using an individual-based model.<br />
The model captures whole plant ontogeny, morphology, and ecophysiology from seed<br />
to reproductive adult to simulate the plasticity of eelgrass in response to<br />
environmental variables. Using a latitudinal gradient as a proxy for climate change,<br />
virtual seeding experiments were performed in three locations along the East coast of<br />
the United States. I simulated the impacts of increased temperatures on Z. marina&rsquo;s<br />
biomass, reproductive phenology, and life history. Warmer temperatures resulted in a<br />
modeled decrease of Z. marina&rsquo;s total biomass, as well as altered reproductive timing<br />
and strategy. These results have implications for long term predictions of Z. marina<br />
persistence in its traditional biogeographic range, and indicate adaptation via shifts in<br />
phenology and reproductive strategy may interact to dampen some negative<br />
consequences of increased temperatures.</p>