Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1127–1135 | Cite as

Spatial variation in dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) production in Ulva lactuca (Chlorophyta) from the Northeast Pacific

  • Kathryn L. Van AlstyneEmail author
  • Lauren Koellermeier
  • Timothy A. Nelson
Research Article


Although dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) has a variety of functions in marine macroalgae including that of a cryoprotectant, an osmolyte, a way to remove excess sulfur and energy, an antioxidant, and an allelopathic precursor, the latter two functions are believed to be the most important in Ulva lactuca L. (=U. fenestrata) in intertidal populations on the coast of Washington state, USA. The present study found significant variation in DMSP concentrations among U. lactuca collected in May 2005 from six sites ranging from 47°54.45′N (Possession Point, Whidbey Island, WA, USA) to 48°30.55′N (Shannon Point Beach, Anacortes, WA, USA), and also among individuals within sites, and among tissues (basal tissues near the holdfast, middle of the blades, and tips). Concentrations ranged from 37 to 224 μmol g−1 fresh mass (FM). In several 10-day experiments between July 2001 and August 2004 with U. lactuca collected from several places on the coast of Washington, the effects of nutrient level (DIN), light intensity and wavelength, and grazing by the herbivorous gastropod Lacuna vincta, were examined. None of these manipulations resulted in DMSP concentrations that differed significantly from controls, and variance in DMSP concentrations within each experiment was very low. Although DMSP concentrations in U. lactuca may be affected by factors not tested in these experiments, it is also possible that the observed spatial differences reflect constitutive genotypic or phenotypic differences among geographically separated U. lactuca populations or among cryptic Ulva species.


Ulva Fresh Mass Basal Tissue DMSP Concentration Dimethylsulfoniopropionate 
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 are grateful to H. Ribarich, D. Simunds, and S. Gifford for their help in the field and laboratory, and K. Pelletreau for assisting with the carbon and nitrogen analyses. We also thank Dennis Willows and the staff at the Friday Harbor Marine Laboratory for providing facilities and useful advice. This work was supported by a grant from the Murdock Charitable Trust to T. Nelson (99161:JVX:02/24/00) and National Science Foundation grants to K. Van Alstyne and Shannon Point Marine Center (DBI-9877129, DBI-0090825, and DBI-0098409).

Supplementary material

227_2006_448_MOESM1_ESM.doc (467 kb)
Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn L. Van Alstyne
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lauren Koellermeier
    • 1
  • Timothy A. Nelson
    • 2
  1. 1.Shannon Point Marine CenterWestern Washington UniversityAnacortesUSA
  2. 2.Blakely Island Field StationSeattle Pacific UniversitySeattleUSA

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