Effects of realistically simulated, elevated UV irradiation on photosynthesis and pigment composition of the alpine snow alga Chlamydomonas nivalis and the arctic soil alga Tetracystis sp. (Chlorophyceae)

D. Remias, A. Albert, C. Lütz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An indoor sun simulator was used to provide elevated UV-B radiation (280-315 nm) in combination with realistic ratios to PAR (400-700 nm) and UV-A radiation (315-400 nm) in order to test the physiological response of a soil- and snow microalga during a three-day stress scenario, which may occasionally occur in their respective arctic and alpine habitats. Chlamydomonas nivalis and Tetracystis sp. are initial colonizers of harsh habitats like summer snow fields and bare arctic soils. The two species were chosen because of their role as primary successors in places where life is generally limited by extreme climatic and nutritional conditions. The influence of the increased UV-B irradiation (1.43 W m -2; control: 0.52 W m -2) on photosynthesis and pigment composition was measured. Both species survived this incubation without any morphological signs of damage, but oxygen production was reduced by 20-56%. Under control conditions, the amount of chlorophylls (Chls) and carotenoids (Cars) per dry mass increased after three days due to optimal light conditions. After the same period, the treated samples of the soil alga Tetracystis sp. showed a smaller increase in Chls and primary Cars than the control. However, the production of extraplastidal, secondary Cars was induced. On the contrary, the snow alga C. nivalis already had high amounts of secondary Cars before the experiment, and after exposure, all pigment classes increased more compared to control conditions. The results show that these microalgae can tolerate short episodes of enhanced UV-B radiation. Photosynthesis may be temporally impaired, but the cells respond by the production of secondary Cars, which can shield their chloroplasts against excessive irradiation or quench reactive oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-277
Number of pages9
JournalPhotosynthetica
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • UV-B exposure
  • microalgae
  • secondary carotenoids
  • sun simulator

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