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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 406:47-55 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08548

Variability in dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations in Spartina alterniflora and the effect on Littoraria irrorata

Whitney M. Kiehn1,*, James T. Morris2

1Marine Sciences Program and Belle W. Baruch Institute, and 2Department of Biology and Belle W. Baruch Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, USA

ABSTRACT: We measured concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in Spartina alterniflora (Loisel.) in response to the plant hormones abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA), and salicylic acid (SA) to determine whether DMSP concentration is linked to any of their signaling pathways. DMSP concentrations were also measured in plants at a salt marsh dieback site in Georgetown County, South Carolina (USA), to determine whether dieback conditions affect foliar DMSP concentrations. We found elevated levels of DMSP in plants receiving SA treatment compared to a control treatment, but we found no treatment effect for either of the other 2 hormone treatments. This suggests that DMSP production or transformation is linked to the SA signaling pathway. Diminished levels of DMSP were observed in plants nearest the dieback edge compared to those farthest from the dieback in an apparently healthy marsh, which suggests that DMSP concentration responds to environmental conditions connected with salt marsh dieback. Using a ring assay, we found that Littoraria irrorata snails, potential herbivores of S. alterniflora, were attracted to DMSP. However, we found no correlation between DMSP concentration and L. irrorata density at the acute dieback site. These results suggest that factors such as plant biomass may play a more important role than DMSP in determining L. irrorata distribution in dieback areas.


KEY WORDS: Stress hormone · Attractant · Deterrent · Salt marsh dieback


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Cite this article as: Kiehn WM, Morris JT (2010) Variability in dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) concentrations in Spartina alterniflora and the effect on Littoraria irrorata. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 406:47-55. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08548

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