Abdallah, Malak(2017-05)[Thesis] Advisor: Duarte, Carlos M. Committee members: Daffonchio, Daniele; Agusti, Susana
Seagrasses are key coastal ecosystems, providing many ecosystem services. Seagrasses increase biodiversity as they provide habitat for a large set of organisms. In addition, their structure provides hiding places to avoid predation. Seagrasses can grow in shallow marine coastal areas, but several factors regulate their growth and distribution. Seagrasses can uptake different kinds of organic and inorganic nutrients through their leaves and roots. Nitrogen and phosphorous are the most important nutrients for seagrass growth. Biological nitrogen fixation is the conversion of atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia by diazotrophic bacteria. This process provides a significant source of nitrogen for seagrass growth. The nitrogen fixation is controlled by the nif genes which are found in diazotrophs. The main goal of the project is to measure nitrogen fixation rates on seagrass sediments, in order to compare among various seagrass species from the Red Sea. Moreover, we will compare the fixing rates of the Vegetated areas with the bare sediments. This project will help to ascertain the role of nitrogen fixing bacteria in the development of seagrass meadows.
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