Root Hair Adhesion in Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile Seedlings : A Numerical Modelling Approach

Animals and plants use adhesion to move, to anchor to a substrate, or to disperse seeds and fruits. Some plants developed a root pad as a common strategy to adhere to consolidated substrates. In the marine environment, the seagrass Posidonia oceanica attaches fi rmly to consolidated substrates via adhesive root hairs, forming a pad structure. We used novel morphological and ultrastructural data to develop a numerical model to study the dynamics of root hair adhesion during contact formation on rough consolidated substrates for this species. Morphological analysis, conducted using Scanning Electron Microscope, highlighted the role of root hair branching in pad formation. Transmission Electron Microscope microscopy allowed us to identify a glue-like substance at the pad/ substrate interface. The numerical model highlighted the role played by the cell wall ’ s elasticity in pad formation and its importance in guaranteeing a fi rm adhesion. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these mechanisms was assessed at different simulated roughness levels. Increasing knowledge on the adhesion mechanism of seagrass to consolidated substrates could be pivotal in developing advanced seedling-based restoration protocols. The fi ndings of this study could contribute to restoration activities planned to contrast seagrass regression. Transplanting initiatives using seedlings can now better address the search for suitable and low-impact ways to fi x germinated plants to the substrate.


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