Species-dependent effects of seawater acidification on alkaline phosphatase activity in dinoflagellates (update)

Increases of atmospheric CO2 cause ocean acidification (OA) and global warming, the latter of which can stratify the water column and impede nutrient supply from deep water. Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient for phytoplankton to grow. While dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) is the preferred form of P, phytoplankton have evolved alkaline phosphatase (AP) to utilize dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) when DIP is deficient. Although the function of AP is known to require pH > 7, how OA affects AP activity and hence the capacity of phytoplankton to utilize DOP is poorly understood. Here, we examined the effects of pH conditions (5.5–11) on AP activity from six species of dinoflagellates, an important group of marine phytoplankton. We observed a general pattern that AP activity declined sharply at pH 5.5, peaked between pH 7 and 8, and dropped at pH > 8. However, our data revealed remarkable interspecific variations in optimal pH and niche breadth of pH. Among the species examined, Fugacium kawagutii and Prorocentrum cordatum had an optimal pH at 8, and Alexandrium pacificumAmphidinium carteraeEffrenium voratum, and Karenia mikimotoi showed an optimal pH of 7. However, whereas A. pacificum and K. mikimotoi had the broadest pH niche for AP (7–10) and F. kawagutii the second (8–10), Am. carterae, E. voratum, and P. cordatum exhibited a narrow pH range. The response of Am. carterae AP to pH changes was verified using purified AP heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli. These results in concert suggest OA will likely differentially impact the capacity of different phytoplankton species to utilize DOP in the projected more acidified and nutrient-limited future ocean.

Guo C., Li L., Lin S. & Lin X., in press. Species-dependent effects of seawater acidification on alkaline phosphatase activity in dinoflagellates. Journal of Phycology. Article (subscription required).

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: