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Interactive effects of radiation, temperature and salinity on different life history stages of the Arctic kelp Alaria esculenta (Phaeophyceae)

Abstract

To estimate the potential effects of climate change on polar marine macroalgae, studies on interactive stress effects of multiple climate-related parameters are essential. Interactions of temperature, radiation and salinity on two different life history stages of Alaria esculenta (L.) Greville from the Kongsfjord (Spitsbergen) were investigated for the first time within this study. Adult macroscopic sporophytes of A. esculenta were exposed to different temperatures between 4 and 21°C combined with artificial irradiation conditions [photosynthetically active radiation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation: UV-A/UV-B, first experiment] and with different salinities [34, 28, 20 practical salinity units (p.s.u.)¸ second experiment]. Effects of photosynthetic activity were determined by measuring variable chlorophyll fluorescence of photosystem II. Germination success of young microscopic zoospores of A. esculenta was studied under multifactorial stress. Zoospore suspensions were exposed to the three different salinities and irradiation conditions at four temperatures between 2 and 16°C. Overall, A. esculenta exhibited a highly stage-specific susceptibility towards the experimental treatments. In both experiments using sporophytes, photosynthetic activity showed significant temperature effects and only very few significant radiation and salinity effects. Microscopic stages of A. esculenta were shown to be more sensitive than the adult macroscopic stages, since germination capacity of zoospores was significantly affected by temperature and salinity changes, and interactions of both. These results suggest that multiple stress factors interact synergistically. Temperature seems to be a predominant environmental parameter for the kelp A. esculenta. Overall, A. esculenta proved to be relatively tolerant and adaptable to increasing temperature and UV radiation, as well as to diluted salinities, but only up to a specific limit.

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Acknowledgements

This study was financially supported by the Helmholtz Society of German Research Centres (project NG-VH-059). For collecting samples and assistance on site the authors are deeply grateful to the Scuba divers, and in particular to Max Schwanitz. The authors thank Dr Mirta Teichberg for helpful comments. Furthermore, many thanks go to the International Arctic Environmental Research and Monitoring Facility at Ny Ålesund (Svalbard) for supporting this study. All experiments comply with the current laws of Norway and Germany.

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Correspondence to Jana Fredersdorf.

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Communicated by Kouki Hikosaka.

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Fredersdorf, J., Müller, R., Becker, S. et al. Interactive effects of radiation, temperature and salinity on different life history stages of the Arctic kelp Alaria esculenta (Phaeophyceae). Oecologia 160, 483–492 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-009-1326-9

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Germination
  • Life cycle
  • Multiple stress
  • Photosynthesis