Marine Biology

, 163:14 | Cite as

Genotypic variation influences tolerance to warming and acidification of early life-stage Fucus vesiculosus L. (Phaeophyceae) in a seasonally fluctuating environment

  • Balsam Al-Janabi
  • Inken Kruse
  • Angelika Graiff
  • Ulf Karsten
  • Martin Wahl
Original paper


Global change exposes brown algal Fucus vesiculosus populations to increasing temperature and pCO2, which may threaten individuals, in particular the early life-stages. Genetic diversity of F. vesiculosus populations is low in the Baltic compared to Atlantic populations. This might jeopardise their potential for adaptation to environmental changes. Here, we report on the responses of early life-stage F. vesiculosus to warming and acidification in a near-natural scenario maintaining natural and seasonal variation (spring 2013–2014) of the Kiel Fjord in the Baltic Sea, Germany (54°27ʹN, 10°11ʹW). We assessed how stress sensitivity differed among sibling groups and how genetic diversity of germling populations affected their stress tolerance. Warming increased growth rates of Fucus germlings in spring and in early summer, but led to higher photoinhibition in spring and decreased their survival in late summer. Acidification increased germlings’ growth in summer but otherwise showed much weaker effects than warming. During the colder seasons (autumn and winter), growth was slow while survival was high compared to spring and summer, all at ambient temperatures. A pronounced variation in stress response among genetically different sibling groups (full-sib families) suggests a genotypic basis for this variation and thus a potential for adaptation for F. vesiculosus populations to future conditions. Corroborating this, survival in response to warming in populations with higher diversity was better than the mean survival of single sibling groups. We conclude that impacts on early life-stages depend on the combination of stressors and season and that genetic variation is crucial for the tolerance to global change stress.


Diversity Level Dissolve Inorganic Carbon Relative Growth Rate Experimental Population Parental Pair 
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.



Financial support was provided by the Project BIOACID II of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; FKZ 03F0655, A). We thank Laura Käse, Felix Müller and Finn Ole-Petersen for their participation in the laboratory work and Björn Buchholz for the maintenance of the Kiel Benthocosms. We also want to thank all members of the Bioacid II consortium 2 ‘Benthic assemblages’ for their cooperation, Mark Lenz for statistical advice and Trystan Sanders for the linguistic revision. We thank for the comments of two anonymous reviewers.

Supplementary material

227_2015_2804_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (134 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 134 kb)
227_2015_2804_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (144 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 143 kb)
227_2015_2804_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (123 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 122 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Balsam Al-Janabi
    • 1
  • Inken Kruse
    • 1
  • Angelika Graiff
    • 2
  • Ulf Karsten
    • 2
  • Martin Wahl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine EcologyGEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biological Sciences, Applied Ecology and PhycologyUniversity of RostockRostockGermany

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