The Microbiology of Seagrasses

  • J. R. SeymourEmail author
  • B. Laverock
  • D. A. Nielsen
  • S. M. Trevathan-Tackett
  • P. I. Macreadie


Like both terrestrial plants and other benthic marine organisms, seagrasses host abundant and diverse communities of microorganisms. These microbes fundamentally influence seagrass physiology and health, while also regulating the biogeochemical dynamics of entire seagrass meadows. Discrete populations of bacteria, fungi, microalgae, archaea and viruses inhabit seagrass leaves, roots and rhizomes and the surrounding sediments. The plethora of ecological interactions taking place between seagrasses and this microbiome span the continuum of symbiotic relationships from mutualism to parasitism. Indeed, the metabolic activities of some seagrass associated microbes, such as diazotrophic and sulphur oxidizing bacteria, govern the local chemical environment in ways that facilitate seagrass survival. On the other hand, pathogens, such as the protozoan parasite Labyrinthula cause disease outbreaks that can lead to mass seagrass die offs. While the role of the seagrass microbiome in defining the success of seagrass habitats is becoming increasingly apparent, there is still much to be learnt. For instance, the development of an understanding of how seagrass associated microbes may buffer or augment the negative impacts of growing environmental pressures will be valuable for informing decisions regarding the management and conservation of threatened seagrass habitats. In this chapter we will synthesise the current state of knowledge on the microbiology of seagrasses, with a goal of conveying the often overlooked importance of the seagrass microbiome in governing seagrass health and the biogeochemical stability of seagrass ecosystems.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Seymour
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. Laverock
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. A. Nielsen
    • 3
  • S. M. Trevathan-Tackett
    • 1
    • 4
  • P. I. Macreadie
    • 4
  1. 1.Climate Change ClusterUniversity of Technology SydneyBroadwayAustralia
  2. 2.Institute for Applied Ecology New Zealand, Auckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.School of Life SciencesUniversity of Technology SydneyBroadwayAustralia
  4. 4.School of Life and Environmental SciencesCentre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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