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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 657:43-57 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13532

Coping with a changing Arctic: mechanisms of acclimation in the brown seaweed Saccharina latissima from Spitsbergen

Nora Diehl1,2,*, Kai Bischof1

1Marine Botany, Faculty of Biology and Chemistry, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
2Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Polar regions are facing rapid temperature increase. In Arctic fjord systems, increased temperatures result in hyposalinity caused by the melting of sea ice and glaciers and freshwater run-off. Additionally, enhanced freshwater discharge and intrusion of nutrient-rich Atlantic water may result in nutrient input in summer. Combined, these factors might have a strong impact on primary producers, such as the abundant kelp species Saccharina latissima, an important foundation species in Arctic shallow-water coastal ecosystems. We ran 2 short-term 2factor experiments with field samples from Kongsfjorden (Svalbard) to evaluate the impact of temperature increase in summer combined with hyposalinity (temperature × salinity) or nutrient enrichment (temperature × nutrients) on the physiological and biochemical status of Arctic S. latissima. In the temperature × salinity experiment, growth and maximum photosynthetic quantum yield of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) were generally not affected. Temperature increase resulted in increased C:N ratios, based on decreasing nitrogen assimilation. Overall, hyposalinity had no severe effect but resulted in lower phlorotannin concentrations. Growth and Fv/Fm improved with increasing temperatures and nutrient enrichment. The de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle and mannitol declined at higher temperatures. Regarding other biochemical response variables, nutrients had no major impact (temperature × nutrients). In conclusion, in line with its broad latitudinal distribution range and adaptability, S. latissima proved to be highly resilient to changing abiotic drivers and will likely be promoted by warming in the future Arctic.


KEY WORDS: Kelp · Interactive effects · Temperature · Nutrients · Salinity · C:N ratio · Mannitol · Pigments


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Cite this article as: Diehl N, Bischof K (2021) Coping with a changing Arctic: mechanisms of acclimation in the brown seaweed Saccharina latissima from Spitsbergen. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 657:43-57. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13532

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