Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 9, pp 2087–2094 | Cite as

Dopamine release by the green alga Ulvaria obscura after simulated immersion by incoming tides

  • Kathryn L. Van AlstyneEmail author
  • Katie J. Anderson
  • Amanda K. Winans
  • Sue-Ann Gifford
Original Paper


Ulvaria obscura, a prominent component of green tide blooms in Washington, is unique among macroalgae because it contains dopamine. To examine dopamine release by U. obscura following simulated low tides, we conducted 6 field experiments in which algae were emersed for 75 min and then immersed in filtered seawater (FSW). Dopamine was measured in algal tissues prior to emersion and 3 h after immersion and in seawater for 3 h following immersion. In our experiments, algae released 7–100% of their tissue dopamine, resulting in average seawater concentrations of 3–563 μM. In 5 of 6 experiments, seawater dopamine concentrations were highest immediately after immersion, and then decreased over time. The percentages of dopamine released were not correlated with tissue dopamine concentrations, but were positively correlated with solar radiation during emersion. The release of dopamine, which is both cytotoxic and genotoxic, may explain the negative effects of U. obscura exudates on marine organisms.


Dopamine Ulva Dopamine Release Dopamine Concentration Green Tide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank A. Nicely, A. Gehman, L. Chomiczewski and M. E. Salyan for their assistance with field and laboratory work and 2 anonymous reviewers whose comments improved the manuscript. R. Ridgway suggested sodium metabisulfite as a means of inhibiting dopamine oxidation. N. Schwarck at the Shannon Point Marine Center assisted with obtaining the weather data. This study was funded by grants NA05NOS4781192 from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration and OCE-0526644 and IOB-0090825 from the National Science Foundation to K. Van Alstyne. This paper is number 634 from the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn L. Van Alstyne
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katie J. Anderson
    • 1
  • Amanda K. Winans
    • 1
  • Sue-Ann Gifford
    • 1
  1. 1.Shannon Point Marine CenterWestern Washington UniversityAnacortesUSA

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