Effect of temperature change on the strand size of common eelgrass (Zostera marina)
The mean temperature of the Earth has been increasing over the last few centuries as a
form of anthropogenic climate change, termed as the ‘global warming’ phenomenon. This study
focuses on the effects of this temperature increase on the morphology of common eelgrass
(Zostera marina), a coastal seagrass and primary producer that provides nutrients for many
aquatic species whose abundance is significantly affected by global warming. The mean global
water temperatures between the years 1912 to 2016 were compared to the average strand
lengths of 75 samples of Z. marina collected from the same time period to determine whether
there was a correlation between changes in temperature and Z. marina strand size. With a
resulting p-value of 0.9067, it was found that there was no significant correlation between Z.
marina strand length and water temperature fluctuations. Therefore, this study does not contain
conclusive evidence that current temperature anomalies are affecting Z. marina strand length.
However, considering the lack of diversity among the samples’ origin and the small sample size
in this study, further intensive research is required to determine what impacts future sea
temperatures will have on this species.