Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 10, pp 1203–1214

Seaweed Allelopathy Against Coral: Surface Distribution of a Seaweed Secondary Metabolite by Imaging Mass Spectrometry

Authors

  • Tiffany D. Andras
    • School of Biology and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
  • Troy S. Alexander
    • School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
  • Asiri Gahlena
    • School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
  • R. Mitchell Parry
    • Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of Technology and Emory University
  • Facundo M. Fernandez
    • School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
  • Julia Kubanek
    • School of Biology and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
    • School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
  • May D. Wang
    • Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical EngineeringGeorgia Institute of Technology and Emory University
    • School of Biology and Aquatic Chemical Ecology CenterGeorgia Institute of Technology
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10886-012-0204-9

Cite this article as:
Andras, T.D., Alexander, T.S., Gahlena, A. et al. J Chem Ecol (2012) 38: 1203. doi:10.1007/s10886-012-0204-9

Abstract

Coral reefs are in global decline, with seaweeds increasing as corals decrease. Although seaweeds inhibit coral growth, recruitment, and survivorship, the mechanism of these interactions is poorly understood. Here, we used field experiments to show that contact with four common seaweeds induces bleaching on natural colonies of Porites rus. Controls in contact with inert, plastic mimics of seaweeds did not bleach, suggesting seaweed effects resulted from allelopathy rather than shading, abrasion, or physical contact. Bioassay-guided fractionation of the hydrophobic extract from the red alga Phacelocarpus neurymenioides revealed a previously characterized antibacterial metabolite, neurymenolide A, as the main allelopathic agent. For allelopathy of lipid-soluble metabolites to be effective, the compounds would need to be deployed on algal surfaces where they could transfer to corals on contact. We used desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) to visualize and quantify neurymenolide A on the surface of P. neurymenioides, and we found the molecule on all surfaces analyzed, with highest concentrations on basal portions of blades.

Keywords

Coral reefsMarinePhacelocarpusPoritesSeaweedSeaweed-coral interactionsSurface

Supplementary material

10886_2012_204_MOESM1_ESM.docx (194 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 193 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012