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Botanica Marina

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Volume 61, Issue 4


Differences in flowering sex ratios between native and invasive populations of the seagrass Halophila stipulacea

Hung Manh Nguyen
  • The Dead-Sea and Arava Science Center, Tamar Regional Council, Dead-Sea Mobile Post 86910, Israel
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Periklis Kleitou
  • Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab Ltd, 202 Amathountos Avenue, Limassol 4533, Cyprus
  • Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre (MBERC), University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Demetris Kletou
  • Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab Ltd, 202 Amathountos Avenue, Limassol 4533, Cyprus
  • Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre (MBERC), University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Yuval Sapir
  • School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Gidon Winters
  • Corresponding author
  • The Dead-Sea and Arava Science Center, Tamar Regional Council, Dead-Sea Mobile Post 86910, Israel
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-07-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2018-0015


Deviations from the 1:1 sex ratio are common in dioecious plants. The tropical seagrass Halophila stipulacea is among an extremely rare group of dioecious plants that are widely recognized as female-biased. Here we report on differences in sex ratios between native (Eilat, northern Red Sea) and invasive (Cyprus, Mediterranean Sea) populations. While H. stipulacea populations were female-biased in their native region, invasive populations were either male- or female-biased. The existence of both sexes simultaneously in the Mediterranean invasive populations might help its ongoing expansion in the Mediterranean, thereby threatening local seagrasses species.

Keywords: flowers; Halophila stipulacea; invasive; sex-ratio bias; sexual reproduction


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About the article

Hung Manh Nguyen

Hung Manh Nguyen received his Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology from Hanoi Open University, Hanoi, Vietnam (2014). He continued his education abroad and has recently received his MSc degree in Plant Sciences from Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel (2018). In the last year, he has been working on the tropical seagrass Halophila stipulacea in both native (Red Sea) and invasive (Mediterranean Sea) ranges. He is passionate about seagrasses and is planning to continue his academic career on seagrasses.

Periklis Kleitou

Periklis Kleitou graduated from the University of Brighton (UK) in 2014 (Environmental Biology and Education) and since then he is working at Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab Ltd in Cyprus. Concurrently, he attended a distance MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture at the University of St-Andrews (UK) (2014–2017). Since 2018, he also started working part-time for the University of Plymouth (UK) on marine invasive species, and specifically on lionfish. He participated in several research projects related to the marine ecosystem, biodiversity assessments, fisheries, and aquaculture. His interests focus on the marine conservation, ecology, and blue growth.

Demetris Kletou

Demetris Kletou received his BSc (2005) and MSc (2007) in Marine Biology from the Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University. Upon returning to Cyprus (2008) he founded Marine and Environmental Research (MER) Lab Ltd, where he is the Director and Principle Investigator. He did his PhD (2011–2018) at the University of Plymouth studying the anthropogenic impacts to marine oligotrophic ecosystems. His interests include sustainable development of human activities and aquaculture, marine ecological characterization and assessments. He is currently the scientific coordinator of the LIFE+ Project titled RELIONMED aiming to set the first line of defense against the lionfish invasion in the Mediterranean.

Yuval Sapir

Yuval Sapir studied in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His MSc dealt with Iris morphological taxonomy, while in his doctorate he studied pollination ecology of the Oncocyclus irises. In his postdoc research, he studied ecological genetics and pollination of sunflowers in Indiana University (USA). Yuval was appointed as a director of the Tel Aviv University Botanical Garden and joined School of Plant Sciences and Food Security as a faculty member in 2012. His research interests include evolution of plants under climate changes, plant’s mating systems, ecological speciation, and the effect of pollinators’ behavior on the evolution of flowers.

Gidon Winters

Gidon Winters received his PhD in Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants from Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Israel (2009). He was a Post-Doctoral research fellow at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Germany (2008–2010), working on effects of thermal stress on Zostera marina. Since his return to Israel, he has been a researcher at the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center (ADSSC). His research interests include seagrass mapping, studying the effects of salinity and climate change on seagrasses, and biotechnology applications of seagrasses. He teaches a seagrass dedicated course at the Inter-University Institute for Marine Science in Eilat.

Received: 2018-02-22

Accepted: 2018-06-19

Published Online: 2018-07-11

Published in Print: 2018-07-26

Citation Information: Botanica Marina, Volume 61, Issue 4, Pages 337–342, ISSN (Online) 1437-4323, ISSN (Print) 0006-8055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2018-0015.

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