There are about 20 billion tons of carbon sequenstered in living seagrasses. About 10% of this, or 2 billion tons, are contained in (poly)phenolic substances. These substances are likely to influence the fate of the other 90% of the stored carbon as they influence rates of decomposition, grazing, and pathogen infection. We discussed some of this in our short presentation on the impacts of climate change on seagrass natural products this week.
We’re into red leaves. Why? Because often the red substances are anthocyanins. These colorful compounds can shield plants from the harmful effects of too much light, especially dangerous UV light, and heat. In Australia researchers have observed reddened seagrass leaves for quite a while (think ozone hole – lots of UV light). Now researchers are finding that it is a common response in these plants, and that it protects them. Similar respones have been observed on land, where immature leaves are often redish. Could this answer the oft-asked question: Continue reading →