Continuous photoperiod of the Artic summer stimulates the photosynthetic response of some marine macrophytes

Marina Sanz-Martín, Iris E. Hendriks, Jacob Carstensen, Núria Marbà, Dorte Krause-Jensen, Mikael K. Sejr, Carlos M. Duarte

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Subarctic macrophytes are predicted to expand in the Arctic as a result of on-going global climate change. This will expose them to 24 h of light during the Arctic summer while pCO2 levels are predicted to rise globally. Here, we tested the photosynthetic activity of two brown macroalgae (Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosus) and one seagrass (Zostera marina) from subarctic Greenland, measuring their relative maximum electron transport rate (rETRmax), photosynthetic efficiency (α) and saturating irradiance (Ik) after 3 days of incubation at different photoperiods (12:12 h, 15:09 h, 18:06 h, 21:03 h and 24:00 h, light:dark) with ambient values of pCO2 (200 ppm, characteristic of current subarctic surface waters) and increased pCO2 (400 and 1000 ppm). The photosynthetic parameters rETRmax and Ik increased significantly with longer photoperiods and increased, however insignificantly, with increased pCO2. Responses differed between species. A. nodosum and Z. marina showed the highest increase of rETRmax and Ik from 12 h to 24 h while the increase of F. vesiculosus was smaller. Our results suggest that as subarctic macrophytes expand in the Arctic in response to retracting sea ice, the long summer days will stimulate the productivity of the species tested here, while the effect of high-CO2 environment needs further research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103126
JournalAquatic Botany
StatePublished - Jun 26 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was funded by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency within the Danish Cooperation for Environment in the Arctic program. We thank J. Thyrring for his help on the field, J. Baldrich and E. Pérez León for their assistance in the laboratory; A. Lázaro, G. Escribano-Ávila, A. Payo-Payo and L. Cayuela for helpful comments on mixed models. We also thank J. Flexas and C. Íñiguez for sharing their knowledge on plant physiology, and J. Terrados for the logistic support. M.S.-M. was supported by a Fundación “La Caixa” fellowship and the unemployment benefit of Spanish Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security. I.E.H. was supported by grant RYC-2014-15147, co-funded by the Conselleria d'Innovació, Recerca i Turisme of the Balearic Government (Pla de ciència, tecnologia, innovació i emprenedoria 2013-2017) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.


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