Geographic variation in biochemical and physiological traits of the red seaweeds Chondracanthus chamissoi and Gelidium lingulatum from the south east Pacific coast
Diverse phenotypic characteristics have evolved in seaweeds to cope with environmental stress, but these traits can vary among populations of the same species especially if these are distributed along environmental gradients. In this study, natural populations of the carrageenophyte Chondracanthus chamissoi and the agarophyte Gelidium lingulatum from a latitudinal gradient along the Chilean coast (between 20° S and 41° S) were compared. We determined physiological and biochemical traits in field and culture samples. Sulfated polysaccharide contents ranged from 15.4 to 52.7% dry weight (DW) in C. chamissoi and from 10.9 to 25.1% DW in G. lingulatum. Carrageenan amounts were higher in gametophytes than tetrasporophytes and were also, depending on life cycle phase, negatively correlated with the geographic variation of temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and chlorophyll a (Chl a), whereas agar showed no significant correlation with these variables. The UV-absorbing mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) shinorine and palythine in both species ranged from 0.8 to 6.8 mg g−1 DW and these contents were positively correlated to PAR and Chl a levels at the sampling site. In C. chamissoi variation among populations in their photosynthetic characteristics, pigment concentrations, antioxidant capacity, and MAA contents were persistent after acclimation under common-garden conditions, suggesting ecotypic differentiation in this species. Contrary, G. lingulatum seems to have a more generalist strategy because differences after cultivation were observed only in some photosynthetic parameters and phycobiliprotein concentration. This study confirms that intraspecific differences in phenotypic traits along the same geographic area are strongly dependent on species and life cycle phases.
KeywordsRhodophyta Carrageenans Agar Mycosporine-like amino acids Ecotypes Chile
We would like to thank the Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Algas (CIDTA-UCN) for providing laboratory facilities. We are grateful to Samanta García and David Yañez for their collaboration in laboratory activities, as well as to David Jofré Madariaga, Oscar Pino, and Felipe Saéz for their help in the collection of field samples.
Financial support for this study was provided by Ph.D Grant CONICYT-Chile 21130402 and FIAC2-UCN1104 to K.V., Fondecyt 1131082 to M.T., and FIC-R BIP 30137720-0 to N.C.; C.L. acknowledges support from the Millennium Nucleus Center for the Study of Multiple Drivers on Marine Socio-Ecological Systems (MUSELS) funded by MINECON NC120086.
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