Ioannis Savva

Among a plethora of anthropogenic factors, climate change and intensified extreme weather events are largely expected to determine the future of many seagrass species, particularly those at the trailing edge of their distribution. Shark Bay, a World Heritage Area, encompasses some of the largest seagrass banks in the world. These meadows have high ecological, socio-economic and climate change mitigation value. The susceptibility of Shark Bay’s temperate seagrasses to climate change, however, is greatly increased, underlined by a mass mortality event on Amphibolis antarctica following a marine heatwave in 2011. Although Posidonia australis showed no signs of regression, its vulnerability to projected environmental shifts is equivocal and needs to be evaluated. My PhD will focus on unveiling the adaptive and acclimation potential of this species to synergistic climate stressors and extreme events using physiological tools within a series of in situand ex situexperiments. Understanding how this seagrass responds to such changes, will be critical to achieving tangible outcomes for conservation, management and restoration in Shark Bay. 

PhD thesis topic: Seagrass adaptation and acclimation physiological responses to extreme climatic events

Email: ioannis.savva@research.uwa.edu.au

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