Genetic analysis of Zostera sp. samples from the East of England: A regional case-study of the genetic diversity of Zostera sp. across the UK.

Published online
26 May 2024
Published by
Natural England
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Finger, A. & Lilley, R.

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Seagrass restoration efforts are gaining momentum globally due to the recognition of historic losses and the vital role of seagrass habitats in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. In the UK, restoration techniques often rely on wild seed harvesting and translocation, necessitating consideration of genetic diversity. However, genetic data for Zostera marina and Z. noltii in the East of England were lacking. Project Seagrass initiated a sampling project in 2020 to address this gap, collecting samples from Norfolk and Suffolk. Analysis of Z. marina samples helped identify genetic clusters and potential geographic limits, while methodology development for Z. noltii laid the groundwork for a UK-wide genetic database. This work enhances understanding of UK seagrass genetic diversity, crucial for informed restoration efforts.

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