•Elevated CO2 enhanced conchocelis growth regardless of light intensity.
•Elevated CO2 enhanced thallus growth at high light but reduced it at low light.
•Elevated CO2 did not affect conchocelis respiration rate at either light intensity.
•Elevated CO2 increased thallus respiration rate at each light intensity.
Increasing CO2 levels in the surface water of oceans are expected to decrease oceanic pH and lead to seawater acidification. The responses of macroalgaea to this acidification of coastal waters have been studied in detail; however, most reports have focused on the adult stage only, while ignoring other life cycle stages. In this study, the economically important seaweed species Pyropia yezoensis was cultured under two CO2 concentrations (ambient CO2: 400 μatm; elevated CO2: 1000 μatm) and two light intensities (low light intensity: 80 μmol photons m−2 s−1; and high light intensity: 240 μmol photons m−2 s−1). The effects on the growth and photosynthetic performance of P. yezoensis were explored at different life cycle stages. Relative growth rates were significantly elevated at the conchocelis stage under high light intensity and elevated CO2 concentration. Moreover, the Pmax of P. yezoensis was also increased under high light intensity. However, this positive effect inversed at the thallus stage. The relative growth rate, relative electron transport rate (rETR), and net photosynthetic rate decreased at the thallus stage in response to high CO2 concentration. Under low light intensity, elevated CO2 concentration significantly increased the relative growth rates of conchocelis and thallus stages. These were 269% and 45% higher at elevated CO2 concentration compared with ambient CO2 concentrations, respectively. The Chl a and phycoerythrin levels were also higher under elevated CO2 level at the conchocelis stage. However, the rETR for the thallus stage was elevated under low light. This suggests that seawater acidification could positively affect algae at low light conditions (especially at the conchocelis stage). Different growth stages of P. yezoensis may respond differently to seawater acidification and changes of light intensity. Thalli growth stage, stocking density, and seawater depth should be considered in different areas to optimize the primary production of macroalgae.
Ma J., Xu T., Bao M., Zhou H., Zhang T., Li Z., Gao G., Li X. & Xu J., 2020. Response of the red algae Pyropia yezoensis grown at different light intensities to CO2-induced seawater acidification at different life cycle stages. Algal Research. 49, 101950. doi: 10.1016/j.algal.2020.101950. Article (subscription required).