Photoprotective responses in a brown macroalgae Cystoseira tamariscifolia to increases in CO2 and temperature

Global warming and ocean acidification are increasingly affecting coastal ecosystems, with impacts that vary regionally depending upon local biogeography. Ocean acidification drives shifts in seaweed community dominance that depend on interactions with other factors such as light and nutrients. In this study, we investigated the photophysiological responses in the brown macroalgae species Cystoseira tamariscifolia (Hudson) Papenfuss with important structural role in the coastal Mediterranean communities. These algae were collected in the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park in ultraoligotrophic waters (algae exposed under high irradiance and less nutrient conditions) vs. those collected in the La Araña beach in oligotrophic waters (algae exposed at middle nutrient and irradiance conditions) in the Mediterranean Sea. They were incubated in mesocosms, under two levels of CO2; ambient (400-500 ppm) and high CO2 (1200-1300 ppm), combined with two temperatures (ambient temperature; 20 °C and ambient temperature + 4 °C; 24 °C) and the same nutrient conditions of the waters of the origin of macroalgae. Thalli from two sites on the Spanish Mediterranean coast were significantly affected by increases in pCO2 and temperature. The carotenoids (fucoxanthin, violaxanthin and β-carotene) contents were higher in algae from oligotrophic than that from ultraoligotrophic water, i.e., algae collected under higher nutrient conditions respect to less conditions, increase photoprotective pigments content. Thalli from both locations upregulated photosynthesis (as Fv/Fm) at increased pCO2 levels. Our study shows that ongoing ocean acidification and warming can increase photoprotection and photosynthesis in intertidal macroalgae.

Celis-Plá P. S. M., Martínez B., Korbee N., Hall-Spencer J. M. & Figueroa F. L., in press. Photoprotective responses in a brown macroalgae Cystoseira tamariscifolia to increases in CO2 and temperature. Marine Environmental Research. Article (subscription required).

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