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Resolving Chemical Gradients Around Seagrass Roots—A Review of Available Methods

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Steep geochemical gradients surround roots and rhizomes of seagrass and protect the plants against the harsh conditions in anoxic sediment, while enabling nutrient uptake. Imbalance of these gradients, due to e.g., low plant performance and/or changing sediment biogeochemical conditions, can lead to plant stress and large-scale seagrass meadow die-off. Therefore, measuring and mapping the dynamic gradients around seagrass roots and rhizomes is needed to better understand plant responses to human impact and environmental changes. Historically, electrochemical microsensors enabled the first measurements of important chemical species like O2, pH or H2S with high sensitivity and spatial resolution giving important insights to the seagrass rhizosphere microenvironment; however, such measurements only provide information in one dimension at a time. In recent years, the use of reversible optical sensors (in the form of planar optodes or nanoparticles) and accumulative gel sampling methods like Diffusive Gradients in Thin films (DGT) have extended the array of analytes and allowed 2-D mapping of chemical gradients in the seagrass rhizosphere. Here, we review and discuss such microscale methods from a practical angle, discuss their application in seagrass research, and point toward novel experimental approaches to study the (bio)geochemistry around seagrass roots and rhizomes using a combination of available techniques, both in the lab and in situ.

TidsskriftFrontiers in Marine Science
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Lars Peter Nielsen and Nils Risgaard-Petersen are thank for discussions about potential novel directions in seagrass research, as well as Silvia Zieger and Fabian Steininger for discussions about the figure design. We also acknowledge the input from Belinda C. Martin in regard to the potential root hair breakage during seagrass transplantation.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Scholz, Brodersen, Kühl and Koren.

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