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Photosynthetic activity and community shifts of microphytobenthos covered by green macroalgae

AuthorsGarcía-Robledo, Emilio; Corzo Rodríguez, Alfonso; Papaspyrou, Sokratis ; Morris, Edward P.
KeywordsPhotosynthetic activity
Green macroalgae
Issue DateJun-2012
PublisherSociety for Applied Microbiology
Blackwell Publishing
CitationEnvironmental Microbiolgy Reports 4(3): 316-325 (2012)
AbstractMacroalgae blooms, a frequent consequence of eutrophication in coastal areas, affect the photosynthetic activity of sediments dominated by microphytobenthos (MPB). Light spectra, steady-state (after 1 h) microprofiles of O2, gross photosynthesis (Pg), community respiration in light (RL) and net community photosynthesis (Pn) were measured in diatom- and cyanobacteria-dominated communities below increasing layers of Ulva. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) decreased exponentially with increasing layers of algae and the light spectrum was increasingly enriched in the green and deprived in blue and red regions. Sediment Pg, Pn and RL decreased as the number of Ulva layers increased; however, 1.6 times higher macroalgal density was necessary to fully inhibit cyanobacteria Pg compared with diatoms, indicating that cyanobacteria were better adapted to this light environment. Long-term (3 weeks) incubations of diatom-dominated sediments below increasing layers of Ulva resulted in a shift in the taxonomic composition of the MPB towards cyanobacteria. Hence, changes in the light climate below macroalgal accumulations can negatively affect the photosynthetic activity of sediments. However, spectral niche differentiation of MPB taxonomic groups and concurrent changes in the MPB community may provide sediments with increased resilience to the detrimental effects of eutrophication.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-2229.2012.00335.x
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