Distinct patterns of nitrate reductase activity in brown algae: Light and ammonium sensitivity in Laminaria digitata is absent in Fucus species

E.B. Young, Matthew Dring, J.A. Berges

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14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fucus and Laminaria species, dominant seaweeds in the intertidal and subtidal zones of the temperate North Atlantic, experience tidal cycles that are not synchronized with light:dark (L:D) cycles. To investigate how nutrient assimilation is affected by light cycles, the activity of nitrate reductase (NR) was examined in thalli incubated in outdoor tanks with flowing seawater and natural L:D cycles. NR activity in Laminaria digitata (Huds.) Lamour. showed strong diel patterns with low activities in darkness and peak activities near midday. This diel pattern was controlled by light but not by a circadian rhythm. In contrast, there was no diel variation in NR activity in Fucus serratus L., F. vesiculosus (L.) Lamour., and F. spiralis L. either collected directly from the shore or maintained in the outdoor tanks. In laboratory cultures, transfer to continuous darkness suppressed NR activity in L. digitata, but not in F. vesiculosus; continuous light increased NR activity in L. digitata but decreased activity in F. vesiculosus. Furthermore, 4 d enrichment with ammonium (50 mu mol . L-1 pulses), resulted in NR activity declining by > 80% in L. digitata, but no significant changes in F. serratus. Seasonal differences in maximum NR activity were present in both genera with activities highest in late winter and lowest in summer. This is the first report of NR activity in any alga that is not strongly regulated by light and ammonium. Because light and tidal emersion do not always coincide, Fucus species may have lost the regulation of NR by light that has been observed in other algae and higher plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1208
Number of pages9
JournalJournal Of Phycology
Volume43 (6)
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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