Adjustment of pigment composition in Desmarestia (Desmarestiaceae) species along a sub-Antarctic to Antarctic latitudinal gradient
Photosynthesis at high latitudes demands efficient strategies of light utilization to maintain algal fitness and performance. The fitness, and physiological adaptation, of a plant or algae species depends in part on the abundance and efficiency of the pigments it can produce to utilize the light resource from its environment. We quantified pigment composition and concentration in six species of the brown macroalgal genus Desmarestia, collected from sub-Antarctic sites (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel–Cape Horn Province) and sites on the Antarctic Peninsula and adjacent islands. Sub-Antarctic Desmarestia species exhibited lower concentrations of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll c and fucoxanthin than endemic Antarctic species. Antarctic samples of D. menziesii and D. antarctica collected along a decreasing latitudinal gradient showed spatial and interspecific differences in light-harvesting pigment composition. Our results suggest distinct physiological adjustments in Desmarestia species in response to heterogeneous abiotic environmental conditions. The marine sub-Antarctic and Antarctic ecosystems are characterized by harsh environments (e.g., extreme irradiance, photoperiod, temperature, salinity) to which the physiology of macroalgal species must adapt.
Keywords: Macroalgae; Phaeophyceae; photosynthesis; physiology; environmental heterogeneity; Chile.
(Published: 4 August 2016)
Citation: Polar Research 2016, 35, 29383,http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v35.29383
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Norwegian Polar Institute.