Photosynthetic and respiratory responses of the agarophyte Gelidiellaacerosa collected from tidepool, intertidal and subtidal habitats
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Several samples of the red seaweed, Gelidiella acerosa (Forssk.) Feldmann & Hamel occurring in tidepools, high intertidal rocks, and shallow subtidal areas on a reef flat in llocos Norte, northern Philippines were studied in terms of their photosynthetic and respiratory responses (μ1 O2 gDW−1 h−1) to four salinity (22, 28, 34, 40‱) and three temperature (22, 28, 34 °C) combinations. The upper intertidal plants tolerated low salinities (22–28‱) better than high salinities (34–40‱), while tidepool and subtidal plants were not affected. Temperatures of 22 through 34 °C resulted in a one-fold increase in their photosynthetic rates and insignificant differences in their respiratory rates while tidepool and subtidal plants almost doubled their photosynthetic rates and their respiration rates increased by about 5–50 times. There were no interaction effects. Therefore, intertidal plants appeared to be more tolerant to wide temperature fluctuations and low salinity levels; while tidepool and subtidal plants were least affected by salinity variations but were quite sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Vegetative and tetrasporic plants had similar photosynthetic and respiratory responses to salinity and temperature variations, although vegetative plants had significantly higher net photosynthesis under the minimum and maximum temperatures tested (22 and 34 °C). Reproductive G. acerosa showed greater tolerance to temperature fluctuations. These responses indicated that physiological changes may have occurred when the species became reproductive.
Tolerance of G. acerosa to low salinities suggests that lowering the salinities in culture tanks could be used to eradicate contaminants, i.e., dinoflagellates and filamentous green algae. Temperature of 28 °C appeared to be optimum for all plant types as reflected by their high photosynthetic and low respiratory rates.
Key wordsphotosynthesis respiration Gelidiella acerosa culture tidal habitat salinity temperature
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