Sexual reproduction has hardly ever been reported in the Lessepsian seagrass Halophila stipulacea in the Mediterranean Sea. In the present study, fertile plants bearing fruits are reported for the first time from the North Aegean Sea, and for the second time from the whole Mediterranean Basin, confirming a successful and complete sexual reproduction of the species in the Mediterranean environment. In August 2012 on Chios Island, a large population of this plant in the northernmost limit of its Aegean Sea distribution was found and it was concluded that the fertility of the plants could be a response to the warming of the Mediterranean Sea, and may suggest that a further expansion of the species is occurring.
About the authors
Vasileios Gerakaris is a Marine Ecology Research Associate at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) and a PhD candidate of Marine Ecology at the Department of Biology of the University of Athens. His PhD research is focused on seagrasses of the eastern Mediterranean Sea with emphasis on the application and development of ecological indices. He has extensive working experience in monitoring phytobenthic communities. He is an expert scientific scuba diver with an extensive experience on various underwater sampling techniques.
Konstantinos Tsiamis is a freelance researcher collaborating with the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, focusing on marine biology and oceanography. Over the past 12 years, he has been studying the biodiversity, biology, ecology and taxonomy of seaweeds (green, brown and red macroalgae) and seagrasses with emphasis on alien species and pollution impacts in the Mediterranean Sea. He has been involved in more than 25 research projects on the marine environment, participated in numerous symposia and workshops and obtained scholarships. He is an expert scuba diver with an extensive experience in sampling seaweeds and seagrasses.
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