Marine Biology

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 151–158

Nitrogen fixation by blue-green algae associated with the siphonous green seaweed Codium decorticatum: effects on ammonium uptake

  • G. Rosenberg
  • H. W. Paerl

DOI: 10.1007/BF00386654

Cite this article as:
Rosenberg, G. & Paerl, H.W. Mar. Biol. (1981) 61: 151. doi:10.1007/BF00386654


Nitrogen fixation (acetylene reduction) at rates of up to 1.2 μg N2 g dry wt-1 h-1 was measured for the siphonous green seaweed Codium decorticatum. No nitrogenase activity was detected in C. isthmocladum. The nitrogenase activity was light sensitive and was inhibited by the addition of DCMU and triphenyl tetrazolium chloride. Additions of glucose did not stimulate nitrogen fixation. Blue-green algae (Calothrix sp., Anabaena sp., and Phormidium sp.) were implicated as the organisms responsible for the nitrogenase activity. They occurred in a reduced microzone within the C. decorticatum thallus where nitrogen fixation was optimized. Nitrogen fixation did not affect the kinetic constants for ammonium uptake in C. decorticatum (Ks=12.0 μM, Vmax=13.4 μmol NH3 g dry wt-1 h-1) determined using the perturbation method. Nevertheless, C. decorticatum thalli which fixed nitrogen had internal dissolved nitrogen concentrations which were over 1.4 times higher than in non-fixing thalli. This suggests that if C. decorticatum does derive part of its nitrogen requirement from the blue-green algae which it harbors, the transfer does not involve competition between this process and the uptake of ambient ammonium.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Rosenberg
    • 1
  • H. W. Paerl
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine LaboratoryDuke UniversityBeaufortUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of North CarolinaMorehead CityUSA