Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/73112
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Type: Journal article
Title: Genetic diversity enhances restoration success by augmenting ecosystem services
Author: Reynolds, L.
McGlathery, K.
Waycott, M.
Citation: PLoS One, 2012; 7(6):1-7
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1932-6203
1932-6203
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Laura K. Reynolds, Karen J. McGlathery and Michelle Waycott
Abstract: Disturbance and habitat destruction due to human activities is a pervasive problem in near-shore marine ecosystems, and restoration is often used to mitigate losses. A common metric used to evaluate the success of restoration is the return of ecosystem services. Previous research has shown that biodiversity, including genetic diversity, is positively associated with the provision of ecosystem services. We conducted a restoration experiment using sources, techniques, and sites similar to actual large-scale seagrass restoration projects and demonstrated that a small increase in genetic diversity enhanced ecosystem services (invertebrate habitat, increased primary productivity, and nutrient retention). In our experiment, plots with elevated genetic diversity had plants that survived longer, increased in density more quickly, and provided more ecosystem services (invertebrate habitat, increased primary productivity, and nutrient retention). We used the number of alleles per locus as a measure of genetic diversity, which, unlike clonal diversity used in earlier research, can be applied to any organism. Additionally, unlike previous studies where positive impacts of diversity occurred only after a large disturbance, this study assessed the importance of diversity in response to potential environmental stresses (high temperature, low light) along a water–depth gradient. We found a positive impact of diversity along the entire depth gradient. Taken together, these results suggest that ecosystem restoration will significantly benefit from obtaining sources (transplants or seeds) with high genetic diversity and from restoration techniques that can maintain that genetic diversity.
Keywords: Humans; Zosteraceae; Seeds; Environment; Conservation of Natural Resources; Ecosystem; Genetic Variation
Rights: Copyright: © 2012 Reynolds et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
RMID: 0020120765
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038397
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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