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RAPID NITRATE UPTAKE RATES AND LARGE SHORT-TERM STORAGE CAPACITIES MAY EXPLAIN WHY OPPORTUNISTIC GREEN MACROALGAE DOMINATE SHALLOW EUTROPHIC ESTUARIES1
Article first published online: 9 MAY 2011
© 2011 Phycological Society of America
Journal of Phycology
Volume 47, Issue 3, pages 483–494, June 2011
How to Cite
Kennison, R. L., Kamer, K. and Fong, P. (2011), RAPID NITRATE UPTAKE RATES AND LARGE SHORT-TERM STORAGE CAPACITIES MAY EXPLAIN WHY OPPORTUNISTIC GREEN MACROALGAE DOMINATE SHALLOW EUTROPHIC ESTUARIES. Journal of Phycology, 47: 483–494. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.00994.x
Received 7 July 2010. Accepted 13 September 2010.
- Issue published online: 10 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 9 MAY 2011
- nitrogen storage;
- nutrient pulses;
- nutrient status;
- tissue nutrients;
We quantified the effects of initial macroalgal tissue nitrogen (N) status (depleted and enriched) and varying pulses of nitrate (NO3−) concentration on uptake and storage of nitrogen in Ulva intestinalis L. and Ulva expansa (Setch.) Setch. et N. L. Gardner using mesocosms modeling shallow coastal estuaries in Mediterranean climates. Uptake of NO3− (μmol · g dry weight [dwt]−1 · h−1) was measured as loss from the water after 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 h and storage as total tissue nitrogen (% dwt) and nitrate (ppm). Both species of algae exhibited a high affinity for NO3− across all N pulses and initial tissue contents. There was greater NO3− removal from the water for depleted than enriched algae across all time intervals. In the low-N-pulse treatment, U. intestinalis and U. expansa removed all measurable NO3− within 8 and 12 h, respectively, and in the medium and high treatments, removal was high and then decreased over time. Maximum mean uptake rates of nitrate were greater for U. expansa (∼300 μmol · g dwt−1 · h−1) than U. intestinalis (∼100 μmol · g dwt−1 · h−1); however, uptake rates were highly variable over time. Overall, U. expansa uptake rates were double those of U. intestinalis. Maximum tissue NO3− for U. expansa was >1,000 ppm, five times that of U. intestinalis, suggesting that U. expansa has a greater storage capacity in this cellular pool. These results showed that opportunistic green algae with differing tissue nutrient histories were able to efficiently remove nitrate from the water across a wide range of N pulses; thus, both are highly adapted to proliferate in estuarine environments with pulsed nutrient supplies.