The eelgrass Zostera marina L. is distributed along the Baja California Peninsula (Mexico) where it is exposed to a wide range of irradiances and temperatures that could promote changes in its biochemical composition. Consequently, the objective of this study was to characterize the variations in the levels of chlorophyll, carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, ash and calories in the shoots of Z. marina from the north (San Quintin) and south (Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio lagoons) of the peninsula. Temperature in the southern lagoons was 5-6??C higher than in the northern lagoon; likewise, in situ irradiance was two-fold greater in the south than in the north. As a result of the lower irradiance levels, the concentration of chlorophyll in the shoots of Z. marina was twice as high (1.7 mg gWW-1) in the northern lagoon than in the southern ones (0.8 mg gWW-1). Similar to chlorophyll levels, the concentration of soluble carbohydrates in the shoots was greater in the northern lagoon than in the southern ones, suggesting that the high levels of chlorophyll are enough to compensate for the low irradiance levels and to maintain a positive carbon balance at San Quintin. On the other hand, the levels of proteins in the shoots from the north of the peninsula were slightly lower than those from the southern populations. In general, these results suggest that the different environmental conditions to which Z. marina is exposed along the peninsula impact its biochemical composition.
Additional publication details
Biochemical characterization of the eelgrass Zostera marina at its southern distribution limit in the North Pacific