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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 402:31-43 (2010)  -  DOI:

Effects of solar PAR and UV radiation on tropical biofouling communities

Sergey V. Dobretsov1, Louis Gosselin2, Pei-Yuan Qian3,*

1Marine Science and Fisheries Department, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman
2Department of Biological Sciences, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
3KAUST Global Partnership Program, Department of Biology, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We investigated the effect of solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) on the development of tropical micro- and macrofouling communities for 30 d. The experimental design involved 3 treatments: full spectrum (PAR+UVR), PAR only, and minimal light (reduced PAR and UVR). Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis demonstrated that different light conditions resulted in the formation of highly different microbial communities. The lowest densities of bacteria were found under the full spectrum treatment, while the lowest densities of diatoms were found in the minimal light treatment. Macrofouling communities consisted of 13 species and differed among light treatments. In the presence of UVR, communities had low species diversity, evenness, and richness, while in minimal light and PAR treatments, communities had high species diversity, evenness, and richness. Similarity percentage (SIMPER) analysis revealed that the tubeworm Hydroides elegans, the alga Ulva (Enteromorpha) sp., and the bivalve Perna viridis were the species responsible for most of the dissimilarities in macrofouling communities among treatments. While densities of H. elegans were similar in the PAR and minimal light treatments, this polychaete had higher growth rates under minimal light conditions. We conclude that UVR and PAR directly control the development of shallow micro- and macrofouling communities by inhibiting the recruitment and growth of sensitive species and promoting the growth of resistant species, but also that these forms of solar radiation influence the surface cues available to competent larvae by altering the development of the microbial community.

KEY WORDS: Ultraviolet radiation · Visible light · Microbial communities · Biofilm · Biofouling · Community structure · Larval recruitment · Juvenile growth · South China Sea · Photosynthetically active radiation

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Cite this article as: Dobretsov SV, Gosselin L, Qian P (2010) Effects of solar PAR and UV radiation on tropical biofouling communities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 402:31-43.

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