MEPS - Vol. 386 - Feature article

Intertidal kelp populations exhibit faster heat shock gene up-regulation than submerged populations. Inset shows PCR amplification vs. cycle. Photo: S. Henkel

Henkel SK, Kawai H, Hofmann GE

 

Interspecific and interhabitat variation in hsp70 gene expression in native and invasive kelp populations

 

Comparisons of native versus introduced populations of a species can help establish whether certain physiological traits are species-specific or characteristic of the invasive ecotype. Henkel and collaborators conducted heat shock experiments on kelp Undaria pinnatifida from 3 native populations in Japan and 3 invasive ones in California. Heat shock gene expression was more robust in all U. pinnatifida populations than in 2 native California species (Egregia menziesii and Pterygophora californica), indicating that high thermotolerance is a species trait of U. pinnatifida. In specimens of all 3 species collected from different habitats, gene regulation patterns were more similar within habitats than within species or closely related species, indicating the heat shock response is shaped more by environment than phylogeny.

 

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