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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 640:107-115 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13263

Inducible versus constitutive antioxidant defenses in algae along an environmental stress gradient

Kathryn L. Van Alstyne*, Lauren Sutton, Sue-Ann Gifford

Shannon Point Marine Center, 1900 Shannon Point Road, Anacortes, Washington 98221, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Optimal defense theory (ODT) predicts that antiherbivore defenses should be constitutive when plants are frequently attacked and inducible when the probability of attack is low. Like antiherbivore defenses, antioxidant defenses can be inducible or constitutive. We hypothesized the ODT predictions should apply to antioxidant defenses; thus, species inhabiting environments where oxidative stresses occur frequently should produce constitutive antioxidant defenses, whereas species in environments where stresses occur less frequently should produce inducible defenses. We tested this hypothesis by attempting to induce production of the antioxidant precursor dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in 4 ulvoid algae species that experience different levels of environmental stress because they are zoned along a tidal gradient. The 2 lower intertidal species Ulvaria obscura and Ulva fenestrata, which experience oxidative stresses less frequently, induced DMSP production in response to applications of the chemical oxidant hydrogen peroxide within 7 d, whereas the higher intertidal species Ulva linza and Ulva intestinalis, which regularly experience oxidative stress, did not have increased DMSP concentrations. This study demonstrates a novel waterborne signaling mechanism for DMSP induction in marine macroalgae and provides evidence of selection for inducible antioxidant defenses in organisms experiencing less frequent environmental stresses.


KEY WORDS: Antioxidant · Environmental stress · Dimethylsulfoniopropionate · Hydrogen peroxide · Stress gradients · Macroalgae · Oxidative stress


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Cite this article as: Van Alstyne KL, Sutton L, Gifford SA (2020) Inducible versus constitutive antioxidant defenses in algae along an environmental stress gradient. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 640:107-115. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13263

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