Faster recovery of a diatom from UV damage under ocean acidification

Diatoms are the most important group of primary producers in marine ecosystems. As oceanic pH declines and increased stratification leads to the upper mixing layer becoming shallower, diatoms are interactively affected by both lower pH and higher average exposures to solar ultraviolet radiation. The photochemical yields of a model diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, were inhibited by ultraviolet radiation under both growth and excess light levels, while the functional absorbance cross sections of the remaining Photosystem II increased. Cells grown under ocean acidification (OA) were less affected during UV exposure. The recovery of PSII under low photosynthetically active radiation was much faster than in the dark, indicating that photosynthetic processes were essential for the full recovery of Photosystem II. This light dependent recovery required de novo synthesized protein. Cells grown under ocean acidification recovered faster, possibly attributable to higher CO2 availability for the Calvin cycle producing more resources for repair. The lower UV inhibition combined with higher recovery rate under ocean acidification could benefit species such as Phaeodactylum tricornutum, and change their competitiveness in the future ocean.

Wu Y., Campbell D. A. & Gao K., in press. Faster recovery of a diatom from UV damage under ocean acidification. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology. Article (subscription required)

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