Increased light availability enhances tolerance against ocean acidification stress in Halimeda opuntia

Although the adverse impacts of ocean acidification (OA) on marine calcifiers have been investigated substantially, the anti-stress abilities regulated by increased light availability are unclear. Herein, the interactive effects of three light levels combined with two pCO2 concentrations on the physiological acclimation of the calcifying macroalga Halimeda opuntia were investigated using a pCO2–light coupling experiment. The results indicate that OA exhibits an adverse role in influencing algal growth, calcification, photosynthesis and other physiological performances in H. opuntia. The relative growth rate in elevated pCO2 significantly declined by 13.14%–41.29%, while net calcification rates decreased by nearly three-fold under OA. Notably, increased light availability could enhance stress resistance by the accumulation of soluble organic molecules, especially soluble carbohydrate, soluble protein and free amino acids, and in combination with metabolic enzyme-driven activities alleviated OA stress. Carotenoid content in low light conditions accumulated remarkably and rapid light curves for relative electron transport rate was significantly enhanced by increasing light intensities, indicating that this new organization of the photosynthetic machinery in H. opuntia accommodated light variations and elevated pCO2 conditions. Taken together, the results describe stress resistance by the enhancement of metabolic performance in marine calcifiers to mitigate OA stress.

Wei Z., Long C., Zhang Y., Huo Y., Yang F. & Long L., in review. Increased light availability enhances tolerance against ocean acidification stress in Halimeda opuntia. bioRxiv. Article.

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