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Antarctic marine chemical ecology: what is next?

AuthorsÀvila, Conxita ; Taboada, S. ; Núñez-Pons, Laura
KeywordsMarine organisms
Natural products
Chemical ecology
Issue Date2008
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationMarine Ecology: An evolutionary Perspective 29(1) : 1-71 (2008)
AbstractAntarctic ecosystems are exposed to unique environmental characteristics resulting in communities structured both by biotic interactions such as predation and competition, as well as abiotic factors such as seasonality and ice-scouring. It is important to understand how ecological factors may trigger chemical mechanisms in marine Antarctic organisms as a response for survival. However, very little is known yet about the evolution of chemical compounds in Antarctic organisms. Investigations in chemical ecology have demonstrated over the last several years that defensive metabolites have evolved in numerous representative Antarctic species. This contradicts earlier theories concerning biogeographic variation in predation and chemical defenses. As reviewed here, a number of interesting natural products have been isolated from Antarctic organisms. However, we believe many more are still to be discovered. Currently, many groups such as microorganisms, planktonic organisms and deepsea fauna remain almost totally unknown regarding their natural products. Furthermore, for many described compounds, ecological roles have yet to be evaluated. In fact, much of the research carried out to date has been conducted in the laboratory, and only in a few cases in an ecologically relevant context. Therefore, there is a need to extend the experiments to the field, as done in tropical and temperate marine ecosystems, or at least, to test the activity of the chemicals in natural conditions and ecologically meaningful interactions. Defense against predators is always one of the main topics when talking about the roles of natural products in species interactions, but many other interesting aspects, such as competition, chemoattraction, fouling avoidance and ultraviolet (UV) protection, also deserve further attention. In our opinion, challenging future developments are to be expected for Antarctic marine chemical ecology in the years to come.
Description71 páginas, 1 tabla, 3 figuras.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0485.2007.00215.x
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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