Deakin University

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Effects of short-term hypersalinity exposure on the susceptibility to wasting disease in the subtropical seagrass Thalassia testudinum

journal contribution
posted on 2011-09-01, 00:00 authored by S M Trevathan, A Kahn, C Ross
Seagrass meadows are a vital component of coastal ecosystems and have experienced declines in abundance due to a series of environmental stressors including elevated salinity and incidence of disease. This study evaluated the impacts of short-term hypersalinity stress on the early stages of infection in Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König by assessing changes in cellular physiology and metabolism. Seagrass short shoots were exposed to ambient (30 psu) and elevated (45 psu) salinities for 7 days and subsequently infected for one week by the causative pathogen of wasting disease, Labyrinthula sp. The occurrence of wasting disease was significantly lower in the hypersalinity treatments. Additionally, while exposure to elevated salinity caused a reduction in chlorophyll a and b content, T. testudinum's health, in terms of photochemical efficiency, was not significantly compromised by hypersalinity or infection. In contrast, plant respiratory demand was significantly enhanced as a function of infection. Elevated salinity caused T. testudinum to significantly increase its in vivo H(2)O(2) concentrations to levels that exceeded those which inhibited Labyrinthula growth in a liquid in vitro assay. The results suggest that while short-term exposure to hypersalinity alters selected cellular processes this does not necessarily lead to an immediate increase in wasting disease susceptibility.



Plant physiology and biochemistry






1051 - 1058


Elsevier Masson SAS


Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2011, Elsevier Masson SAS