The effect of desiccation on the emission of volatile bromocarbons from two common temperate macroalgae

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Exposure of intertidal macroalgae during low tide has been linked to the emission of a variety of atmospherically-important trace gases into the coastal atmosphere. In recent years, several studies have investigated the role of inorganic iodine and organoiodides as antioxidants and their emission during exposure to combat oxidative stress, yet the role of organic bromine species during desiccation is less well understood. In this study the emission of dibromomethane (CH<sub>2</sub>Br<sub>2</sub>) and bromoform (CHBr<sub>3</sub>) during exposure and desiccation of two common temperate macroalgae, <i>Fucus vesiculosus</i> and <i>Ulva intestinalis</i>, is reported. Determination of the impact exposure may have on algal physiological processes is difficult as intertidal species are adapted to desiccation and may undergo varying degrees of desiccation before their physiology is affected. For this reason we include comparisons between photosynthetic capacity (<i>F</i><sub><i>v</i></sub> / <i>F</i><sub><i>m</i></sub>) and halocarbon emissions during a desiccation time series. In addition, the role of rewetting with freshwater to simulate exposure to rain was also investigated. Our results show that an immediate flux of bromocarbons occurs upon exposure, followed by a decline in bromocarbon emissions. We suggest that this immediate bromocarbon pulse may be linked to volatilisation or emissions of existing bromocarbon stores from the algal surface rather than the production of bromocarbons as an antioxidant response.




Leedham Elvidge, E. C., Phang, S. M., Sturges, W. T., & Malin, G. (2015). The effect of desiccation on the emission of volatile bromocarbons from two common temperate macroalgae. Biogeosciences, 12(2), 387–398.

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