Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 842–855 | Cite as

Photosynthesis and Growth of Temperate and Sub-Tropical Estuarine Phytoplankton in a Scenario of Nutrient Enrichment under Solar Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure

  • Virginia E. VillafañeEmail author
  • Marco J. Cabrerizo
  • Gilmar S. Erzinger
  • Paula Bermejo
  • Sebastian M. Strauch
  • Macarena S. Valiñas
  • E. Walter Helbling


We compared the responses of two estuarine phytoplankton communities, one from a temperate (Chubut River estuary (CH), Argentina) and one from a sub-tropical site (Babitonga Bay (BB), Brazil), in a scenario of nutrient enrichment under solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. Seawater samples were exposed in microcosms to two nutrients, ambient vs. enriched, and two radiation conditions, with and without UVR, and exposed to solar radiation for 4 days. We evaluated the short- (PSII photochemistry, during 90 min light and 90 min dark cycles, before and after the 4 days of acclimation) and mid-term effects (growth and taxonomic changes) of the phytoplankton communities. Before acclimation, short-term UVR effects were dominant in CH, whereas in BB, nutrient effects prevailed. Such differences were related to the previous light history of the cells and to the ambient nutrient status. After acclimation, an overall improvement of the photosynthetic performance was observed at both sites, either by reducing the relative inhibition or by increasing the recovery of the effective photochemical quantum yield. Interactive effects of UVR and nutrients on growth at CH were antagonistic, while at BB, no differences were observed between the interactive and the sum of effects. Part of the differences in the mid-term observed responses can be attributed to taxonomic changes, with the CH community dominated by diatoms throughout the experiment, but with a shift from a diatom to a flagellate-dominated community in BB. Temperature differences between both sites might have favored higher growth rates and flagellates dominance in BB under the nutrient enriched conditions.


PSII photochemistry Global change Ultraviolet radiation Taxonomic changes Nutrients enrichment Specific growth rates 



We thank the help of C. Machado, C. Hack Gumz Correia, and R. Parizzi for their help with analysis of samples and setup of experiments in BB. We also thank the comments and suggestions of three anonymous reviewers that helped us to improve this manuscript. This work was supported by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas—CONICET (PIP No. 112-201001-00228), Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica—ANPCyT (PICT 2012-0271 and PICT 2013-0208), Fundaçao de Apoio à Pesquisa Científica e Tecnológica do Estado de Santa Catarina (FAPESC), National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPQ), Universidade da Região de Joinville, and Fundación Playa Unión. We also thank Cooperativa Eléctrica y de Servicios de Rawson for providing building’ infrastructure in CH. MCJ was supported by the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte of Spain through a “Formación de Profesorado Universitario” Ph.D. fellowship (FPU12/01243) and a short-term fellowship (EST13/0666) at EFPU. This is Contribution No. 164 of Estación de Fotobiología Playa Unión.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginia E. Villafañe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marco J. Cabrerizo
    • 2
  • Gilmar S. Erzinger
    • 3
  • Paula Bermejo
    • 1
  • Sebastian M. Strauch
    • 4
  • Macarena S. Valiñas
    • 1
  • E. Walter Helbling
    • 1
  1. 1.Estación de Fotobiología Playa Unión and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)RawsonArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Farmácia e MedicinaUniversidade da Região de JoinvilleJoinvilleBrazil
  4. 4.Estación de Fotobiología Playa UniónRawsonArgentina

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