Thu 28 Sep 2017: 10.00am [QE] – Samantha Lai Wen Ya on “The role of vegetative fragments in the propagation of seagrasses”

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

“The role of vegetative fragments in the propagation of seagrasses”

Speaker:           Lai Wen Ya Samantha (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date:                28  September 2017, Thursday
Time:                10am
Venue:             DBS Conference Room (S3 Level 5)
Supervisor:      Assoc Prof Peter Alan, Todd

Abstract: – The study of the movement ecology of seagrasses is critical to understanding how they disperse, exchange genetic material, and persist in changing environments. Seagrasses can disperse at several life stages, although long-distance dispersal beyond the parent meadow is often attributed to buoyant fruits or reproductive shoots which, depending on hydrodynamic conditions, can travel up to hundreds of kilometres from the source meadow. However, vegetative fragments can also re-establish elsewhere following detachment from the parent plant to create a new independent ramet. This process could potentially be important for Singapore’s meadows as the data available thus far about sexual reproduction seems to indicate that it is quite limited.

The focus of my thesis is the connectivity of seagrass meadows in Singapore, with an emphasis on the much-overlooked vegetative fragment dispersal mechanism. Broadly, I aim to experimentally investigate a variety of factors that can affect each step of this mechanism. The resulting data will be integrated into a hydrodynamic model to understand the potential magnitude of this kind of dispersal in our local system. This model will be referenced against a key species, Thalassia hemprichii, to determine if the model can explain the observed population structure across the meadows. My work will help improve our understanding of the population connectivity of our local meadows, and the extent to which they may rely on vegetative fragments for dispersal.

All are welcome

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