Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 4, pp 623–631 | Cite as

Phosphate uptake behavior of natural phytoplankton during exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation in a shallow coastal lagoon

  • L. Aubriot
  • D. Conde
  • S. Bonilla
  • R. SommarugaEmail author
Research Article


The effect of solar UV radiation (UVR: 290–400 nm) on the 32P-phosphate uptake rates of natural phytoplankton from a southern Atlantic Ocean coastal lagoon was studied during two consecutive summers at one station located in the marine-influenced area. Due to the shallowness of this lagoon and also to the generally high UV water transparency in this area, phytoplankton are exposed to high UV irradiances. The 32P-phosphate uptake rates measured at several phosphate concentrations were inhibited up to 59.2% by UVR, although uptake stimulation was also observed in four of nine experiments (up to 28%). The effect of UVR on the apparent maximum velocity of 32P-phosphate uptake (V′ uptake) ranged from an inhibition of 49% to a stimulation of 31%. Although the highest inhibition values were associated with the maximum registered incident UV irradiance, a significant correlation between these two parameters was not observed. Changes in microalgal community structure were not related to the observed UV effect; however, a significant relationship was found between the inhibition of 32P-phosphate uptake rates and V′ uptake used as a proxy for phosphate deficiency. This relationship suggests that the phytoplankton phosphorus nutritional status modulates their sensitivity to UV exposure. Overall, our results suggest that solar UVR has the potential to affect phosphorus cycling.


Phytoplankton Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Phosphate Uptake Photosynthetically Available Radiation Phytoplankton Community Structure 
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.



We thank G. Falkner, R.D. Robarts, R.E.H. Smith, R. Psenner, and D. McKee for critical comments on a previous version of the manuscript, J. Clemente for assistance during sampling, A. Britos for laboratory work, and Y. Watanabe for providing the vinyl chloride foil. This study was financed by grants from IFS-Sweden (A/2917-1) and CSIC-University of Uruguay (UDELAR, 071). Participation of R.S. in this study was made possible through a grant from the Austrian Science Foundation (P14153-BIO). The experiments comply with the current laws of Uruguay where the experiments were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Aubriot
    • 1
  • D. Conde
    • 1
  • S. Bonilla
    • 1
  • R. Sommaruga
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Limnology Section, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of UruguayMontevideoUruguay
  2. 2.Laboratory of Aquatic Photobiology and Plankton Ecology, Institute of Zoology and LimnologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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