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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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number771382
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Volume8
ISSN2296-7745
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

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

    Research areas

  • DET, DGT, geochemistry, imaging, microsensor, multidimensional, planar-optode, rhizosphere

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