An holistic understanding of seagrass functioning and resilience to local-scale disturbances: from molecular to biogeographical scales


The physiological and ecological performance of ‘ecosystem engineers’ (e.g. seagrasses, kelps, corals) change from local to biogeographical scales, in response to contemporary and past processes. Understanding the resilience of ‘ecosystem engineers’ is particularly essential, because the type and number of human-induced disturbances has dramatically increased and global climate change is concurrently imposing high stress levels. The elements that contribute to the resilience of ‘ecosystem engineers’ are majorly unknown, and, therefore, represent a major challenge for modern ecology. The purpose of this proposal is to empirically assess whether genetic diversity, physiological versatility and ecological stability and resilience of an ‘ecosystem engineer’ (here, the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa) are connected from local to biogeographical scales. The implications of this proposal are relevant from a conservation perspective; if this study demonstrates that the resilience of species changes across the species’ distribution range, then conservation policies should be adapted to different regions according to the species capacity to overcome disturbances.

SZN role

Participant Institution involved in the genetic characterization of Cymodocea nodosa populations, and in the assessment of gene expression in controlled conditions.

Principal Investigator

Gabriele Procaccini

Project coordinator

Fernando Tuya Cortés (Universidad De Las Palmas De Gran Canaria)

Project lifetime


Funding Institution

Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad - Spain


Universidad De Las Palmas De Gran Canaria, Spain; Universidad De Las Islas Baleares, Spain; Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy

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