Inter-population differences in inherited copper tolerance involve photosynthetic adaptation and exclusion mechanisms in Fucus serratus

Authors

  • Hanne D. Nielsen,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK,
    2. School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK;
    3. Present address: Dept. Life Sciences and Chemistry, Roskilde University, PO Box 260, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
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  • Colin Brownlee,

    1. The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK,
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  • Susana M. Coelho,

    1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK;
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  • Murray T. Brown

    1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK;
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Author for correspondence: Hanne D. Nielsen Tel: +45 46 71 27 85 Fax: +45 46 71 30 11 Email: hnielsen@Ruc.dk

Summary

  • • A comparative study of copper (Cu) toxicity and tolerance in three populations of Fucus serratus was conducted by examining Cu2+ effects on various physiological parameters.
  • • Chlorophyll fluorescence, oxygen evolution, copper content, and relative growth rate of embryos and adults were measured on Cu2+-exposed material.
  • • Algae naturally exposed to elevated total Cu concentration (CuT), were more Cu2+ resistant than those from clean sites, as indicated by higher embryo and adult growth rates and lower copper contents. The Cu2+ tolerance of F. serratus is at least partly inherited and relies partly on metal exclusion.
  • • There were inhibitory effects of Cu2+ on oxygen exchange rates in both tolerant and non-tolerant algae. By contrast to sensitive algae, the maximum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm), maximum fluorescence (Fm) and zero fluorescence (Fo) of resistant algae were unaffected by Cu2+, whereas decreased quantum yield (ΦPSII) and increased nonphotochemical quenching (NPQ) were most pronounced in resistant algae. Inhibitory effects of Cu2+ on ΦPSII may result in the excitation energy being dissipated through xanthophyll-dependent quenching mechanisms in tolerant algae. In nontolerant algae, lower energy dissipation may result in chlorophyll degradation.

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