Impediments to understanding seagrasses’ response to global change




Rock, Brianna M.
Daru, Barnabas H.


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Frontiers in Marine Science


Uncertainties from sampling biases present challenges to ecologists and evolutionary biologists in understanding species sensitivity to anthropogenic climate change. Here, we synthesize possible impediments that can constrain research to assess present and future seagrass response from climate change. First, our knowledge of seagrass occurrence information is prevalent with biases, gaps and uncertainties that can influence inferences on species response to global change. Second, research on seagrass diversity has been focused on species-level metrics that can be measured with data from the present - but rarely accounting for the shared phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary distinctiveness of species despite species evolved and diversified from shared ancestors. Third, compared to the mass production of species occurrence records, computational tools that can analyze these datasets in a reasonable amount of time are almost non-existent or do not scale well in terms of computer time and memory. These impediments mean that scientists must work with incomplete information and often unrepresentative data to predict how seagrass diversity might change in the future. We discuss these shortfalls and provide a framework for overcoming the impediments and diminishing the knowledge gaps they generate.



marine macrophytes, sampling biases, computational infrastructure, alismatales, biodiversity shortfalls, climate change



Attribution 4.0 International


Rock, B. M., & Daru, B. H. (2021). Impediments to understanding seagrasses? response to global change. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8