UV-induced changes in phytoplankton cells and its effects on grazers

  • Hessen D
  • De Lange H
  • Van Donk E
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S U M M A R Y 1. This review addresses the effects of UV-radiation on the morphology and biochemistry of phytoplankton and the potential effects on grazers. 2. UVA and UVB radiation inhibit the uptake of inorganic nutrients in phytoplankton. Reduced rates of ammonium and nitrate uptake in marine diatoms, and reduced uptake of phosphorus in freshwater flagellates are reported. The effects on cell stoichiometry are not settled. 3. UVA and UVB radiation promote increased cell volumes owing to a decoupling between the photosynthetic processes and cell division. Loss or inactivation of flagellae and loss of motility are also reported for a number of phytoplankton species. 4. UVA and UVB radiation may affect major biochemical constituents. Accumulation of intracellular, photosynthetic products (lipids or carbohydrates) is a common, although not unique, property of UV-stressed algae. Fatty acid (FA) profiles seem susceptible to UV radiation. A relative increase of short-chained, and a decrease in polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) are reported. The important membrane FA like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20 : 5ω3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22 : 6ω3) seem particularly susceptible, owing to lipid peroxidation or reduced biosynthesis. 5. UV-related responses are highly dependent on taxonomy, cell-cycle stage, nutrient-limitation and the UV : PAR (photosynthetic active radiation)-ratio. 6. Nutrient deficiency, cell size, cell wall properties and FA can all have significant impacts on grazers. Thus the reported effects on cell morphology and biochemical constituents could have profound effects on grazers and energy transfer in aquatic foodwebs.

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  • Dag O. Hessen

  • Hendrika J. De Lange

  • Ellen Van Donk

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