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UV-radiation and elevated temperatures induce formation of reactive oxygen species in gametophytes of cold-temperate/Arctic kelps (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae)


  • Communicating editor: U. Karsten.



Enhanced UV-radiation (UVR) through stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming are crucial stressors to marine macroalgae. Damages may arise through formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in gametophytes of ecologically important kelps, brown algae of the order Laminariales, Such stress-induced damages may have a negative impact on their fitness and further impact their following life stages. In our study, gametophytes of three kelp species Alaria esculenta (L.) Grev., Laminaria digitata (Huds.) Lamour., Saccharina latissima (L.) Lane, Mayes, Druehl, Saunders from the Arctic, and of L. hyperborea (Gunnerus) Foslie from the North Sea were exposed to photosynthetically active radiation, UV-A, and UV-B radiation and four temperatures (2–18°C). ROS are formed predominantly in the peripheral cytoplasm and in chloroplasts especially after exposure to UVR. Superoxide (O2*-) is additionally formed in small, globular cytoplasmic structures, possibly mitochondria. In the surrounding medium O2*--concentration increased markedly at elevated temperatures and under UV stress in some cases. Ultrastructural damage was negligible pointing to a high stress tolerance of this developmental stage. Our data indicate that stress tolerant gametophytes of three Arctic kelp species should sustain their crucial function as seed bank for kelp populations even under prospective rising environmental perturbations.