Establishing research strategies, methodologies and technologies to link genomics and proteomics to seagrass productivity, community metabolism, and ecosystem carbon fluxes

Silvia Mazzuca1, M. Bjork2 , S. Beer3 , P. Felisberto4, S. Gobert 5, G. Procaccini6, J. Runcie7, J. Silva8,A. V. Borges9,C. Brunet6,P. Buapet2,W. Champenois9,M. M. Costa8, D. D’Esposito6, M. Gullström2, P. Lejeune10, G. Lepoint5, I. Olivé8, L. M. Rasmusson2, J. Richir5, M. Ruocco6, I. A. Serra1, A. Spadafora1 and Rui Santos8
1Department of Chemistry and Technology, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy
2Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
3Department of Plant Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
4LARSyS, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
5Département de Biologie, Ecologie et Evolution, MARE, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium
6Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy
7School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
8Marine Plant Ecology (ALGAE), Center of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
9Chemical Oceanography Unit, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium
10STARESO SAS, Pointe Revellata, Calvi, France
Ref.: Frontiers in Plant Science, Vol. 4, 38, February 2013 2013.

A complete understanding of the mechanistic basis of marine ecosystem functioning is only possible through integrative and interdisciplinary research. This enables the prediction of change and possibly the mitigation of the consequences of anthropogenic impacts. One major aim of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action ES0609 “Seagrasses productivity. From genes to ecosystem management,” is the calibration and synthesis of various methods and the development of innovative techniques and protocols for studying seagrass ecosystems. During 10 days, 20 researchers representing a range of disciplines (molecular biology, physiology, botany, ecology, oceanography, and underwater acoustics) gathered at The Station de Recherches Sous-marines et Océanographiques (STARESO, Corsica) to study together the nearby Posidonia oceanica meadow. STARESO is located in an oligotrophic area classified as “pristine site” where environmental disturbances caused by anthropogenic pressure are exceptionally low. The healthy P. oceanica meadow, which grows in front of the research station, colonizes the sea bottom from the surface to 37 m depth. During the study, genomic and proteomic approaches were integrated with ecophysiological and physical approaches with the aim of understanding changes in seagrass productivity and metabolism at different depths and along daily cycles. In this paper we report details on the approaches utilized and we forecast the potential of the data that will come from this synergistic approach not only for P. oceanica but for seagrasses in general.