Difficulties in Measuring Oxygen Dynamics and Transport

Measuring oxygen production, consumption, release and transport in seagrasses and other rooted macro-phytes is a major technological challenge. A number of different techniques are available and have been applied, but all methods seem to have potential drawbacks depending on the specific objective. The intrinsic problems are related to the fact that all rates of oxygen exchange within plants depend on a complex of factors such as (1) the immediate size of oxygen pools within specific plant tissues and in the media surrounding leaves and roots, (2) the resistance to transport within plants and between plant and media, and (3) the steepness of gradients within tissues and between tissues and the surrounding media. The factors vary temporally and spatially under natural conditions and these changes are difficult to control and mimic in the laboratory. Assessment of oxygen dynamics within and around seagrasses under controlled laboratory conditions is, therefore, best suited for describing relative rates and mechanisms rather than determining absolute rates as they would occur under natural conditions.

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