Direct and indirect response to herbivore attack in seagrasses

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Herbivory is a key factor shaping community structure and function by control of plant biomass and productivity. Plants may continuously reduce their quality as food, to lessen herbivory impact. Besides constitutive defence (permanently expressed), herbivore-deterrent compounds are synthesised on-demand following herbivore attack (i.e. induced defences). Chemical signals released by plants during an herbivore attack provide a rich source of information that may mediate different direct and indirect responses in different species. These responses have been widely documented in macroalgae; however, no information is available in vascular marine plants (i.e. seagrasses). Seagrass meadows provide important ecosystem services, which is why a comprehensive understanding on their ecology is required for tailored conservation efforts of these valuable systems. The goal of this project is to explore different interactions mediated by chemical anti-herbivory defences. To answer these questions, field works and induction-response experiments will be conducted.
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Begoña Martínez-Crego
Reference Number: RP-39352