Physiological stress modulates epiphyte (Rhizoclonium sp.)-basiphyte (Agarophyton chilense) interaction in co-culture under different light regimes

Abstract

Epiphytism is a common phenomenon in macroalgal aquaculture worldwide. This problem can affect the productivity and quality of the farmed species which may have socioeconomic consequences for the human communities that depend on this activity. In southern Chile, the aquaculture of the red macroalga Agarophyton chilense in the area of Maullín River has suffered losses in local production (> 90%) due to the proliferation of the filamentous green epiphyte Rhizoclonium sp. This epiphyte becomes entangled with A. chilense fronds, diminishing its quality and preventing its sale as raw material. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of light intensity (90 and 180 μmol photons m−2 s−1) on the competitive interaction between the epiphyte Rhizoclonium sp. and the basiphyte A. chilense co-cultured at different initial biomass proportions in a replace series experiment. At the end of the experiment, the presence of Rhizoclonium sp. did not affect negatively the growth of A. chilense, but both species showed stress responses (i.e. reduced Fv/Fm and C:N ratio, suggesting nutrient limitation) in co-culture compared with monocultures. The epiphyte-basiphyte interaction was not modulated by light availability at any initial co-culture proportion and could have been related to nutrient availability during experimentation. Using the replacement series approach, an interspecific competition was observed at all initial co-culture proportion under 180 μmol photons m−2 s−1 while competition was found at the initial co-culture 1:1 under 90 μmol photons m−2 s−1. Our results suggest that the interaction in co-culture between both A. chilense and Rhizoclonium sp. seems to be regulated by nutrient availability as well as it demands utilization rather than light availability.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Pamela A. Fernández and Luis Henríquez-Antipa for their constructive comments on an earlier draft. We also thank the editor and reviewer for the critical and helpful comments.

Funding

Pablo P. Leal received financial support from “Programa Integral de Desarrollo de Acuicultura de Algas para Pescadores Artesanales (Etapa 3, Convenio 2016)”, funded by the Subsecretaría de Economía y Empresas de Menor Tamaño. Johana Ojeda and Carolina Sotomayor were supported by “Estudio del desempeño ambiental de la acuicultura en Chile y su efecto en los ecosistemas de emplazamiento (Convenio 2018)” funded by the Subsecretaría de Economía y Empresas de Menor Tamaño. Alejandro H. Buschmann was supported by the Center of Biotechnology and Bioengineering (CeBiB) of CONICYT (FB-0001) and FONDECYT (1180647).

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Leal, P.P., Ojeda, J., Sotomayor, C. et al. Physiological stress modulates epiphyte (Rhizoclonium sp.)-basiphyte (Agarophyton chilense) interaction in co-culture under different light regimes. J Appl Phycol 32, 3219–3232 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-020-02153-w

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Keywords

  • Aquaculture
  • Competition
  • Epiphytism
  • Nutrients
  • PAR
  • Replacement series
  • Rhodophyta
  • Chlorophyta