Temperature requirements for seed germination and seedling growth of Zostera marina from central Japan


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ABSTRACT:  The optimal water temperature in seed germination and the upper critical water temperature in seedling growth were determined for Zostera marina collected from Ise Bay, Japan. The relationship between the seed germination rates and seed storage period (0, 30 and 60 days at 0°C) was also examined. The optimal water temperature for seed germination was in the range from 10 to 15°C regardless of the storage periods, in which germination rates ranged from 35 to 57%. Seedlings grown from seed up to 10 cm in total length were cultured for 1 week under various water temperatures to measure their relative growth rates. The optimal water temperature in growth was in the range from 20 to 25°C; relative growth rates ranged from 2.0 to 2.6%. Seedlings could survive up to a water temperature of 28°C, but most seedlings withered at 29 or 30°C. The optimal water temperatures for seed germination and seedling growth were related to the seasonal changes of water temperature at the sampling site. Although seedlings were rarely observed in the field in summer, they can grow at temperatures as high as 28°C. Therefore, Z. marina may extend its distribution as far as where the summer water temperature is lower than 28°C.