Iridaea cordata (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta): Responses to artificial UVB radiation

  • Navarro N
  • Mansilla A
  • Plastino E
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The effects of UVB radiation on the different developmental stages of the carrageenan-producing red alga Iridaea cordata were evaluated considering: (1) carpospore and discoid germling mortality; (2) growth rates and morphology of young tetrasporophytes; and (3) growth rates and pigment content of field-collected plant fragments. Unialgal cultures were submitted to 0.17, 0.5, or 0.83 W m−2 of UVB radiation for 3 h per day. The general culture conditions were as follows: 12 h light/12 h dark cycles; irradiance of 55 µmol photon.per square meter per second; temperature of 9 ± 1°C; and seawater enriched with Provasoli solution. All UVB irradiation treatments were harmful to carpospores (017Wm−2=40969%, 05Wm−2=598134%, 083Wm−2=49174% mortality in 3 days). Even though the mortality of all discoid germlings exposed to UVB radiation was unchanged when compared to the control, those germlings exposed to 0.5 and 0.83 W m−2 treatments became paler and had smaller diameters than those cultivated under control treatment. Decreases in growth rates were observed in young tetrasporophytes, mainly in 0.5 and 0.83 W m−2 treatments. Similar effects were only observed in fragments of adult plants cultivated at 0.83 W m−2. Additionally, UVB radiation caused morphological changes in fragments of adult plants in the first week, while the young individuals only displayed this pattern during the third week. The verified morphological alterations in I. cordata could be interpreted as a defense against UVB by reducing the area exposed to radiation. However, a high level of radiation appears to produce irreparable damage, especially under long-term exposure. Our results suggest that the sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation decreases with increased algal age and that the various developmental stages have different responses when exposed to the same doses of UVB radiation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Carpospores
  • Germlings
  • Morphological alteration
  • Mortality
  • UVB effects

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  • Nelso P. Navarro

  • Andrés Mansilla

  • Estela M. Plastino

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