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Publication Date




Publication Title

Scientific Reports






4693 (11 pp.)


As CO2 levels in Earth’s atmosphere and oceans steadily rise, varying organismal responses may produce ecological losers and winners. Increased ocean CO2 can enhance seagrass productivity and thermal tolerance, providing some compensation for climate warming. However, the metabolic shifts driving the positive response to elevated CO2 by these important ecosystem engineers remain unknown. We analyzed whole-plant performance and metabolic profiles of two geographically distinct eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) populations in response to CO2 enrichment. In addition to enhancing overall plant size, growth and survival, CO2 enrichment increased the abundance of Calvin Cycle and nitrogen assimilation metabolites while suppressing the abundance of stress-related metabolites. Overall metabolome differences between populations suggest that some eelgrass phenotypes may be better suited than others to cope with an increasingly hot and sour sea. Our results suggest that seagrass populations will respond variably, but overall positively, to increasing CO2 concentrations, generating negative feedbacks to climate change.


© The Author(s) 2020

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Data Availability

Articles states: "Whole-plant metabolic data are available from BCO-DMO (Principal Investigator Richard Zimmerman, Project: Impact of Climate Warming and Ocean Carbonation on Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). Metabolomics data are also available in the Supporting Information for this manuscript."

"Supplementary information is available for this paper at

Link to the referenced project in BCO-DMO is

Original Publication Citation

Zayas-Santiago, C. C., Rivas-Ubach, A., Li-Jung, K., Ward, N. D., & Zimmerman, R. C. (2020). Metabolic profiling reveals biochemical pathways responsible for eelgrass response to elevated CO2 and temperature. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 4693. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-61684-x


0000-0002-9399-4264 (Zimmerman)


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