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Nitrogen sufficiency enhances thermal tolerance in habitat-forming kelp: implications for acclimation under thermal stress

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Fernandez, PA, Gaitan-Espitia, JD, Leal, PP, Schmid, M, Revill, AT and Hurd, CL ORCID: 0000-0001-9965-4917 2020 , 'Nitrogen sufficiency enhances thermal tolerance in habitat-forming kelp: implications for acclimation under thermal stress' , Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1 , pp. 1-12 , doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-60104-4.

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Abstract

Local and global changes associated with anthropogenic activities are impacting marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Macroalgae, especially habitat-forming species like kelp, play critical roles in temperate coastal ecosystems. However, their abundance and distribution patterns have been negatively affected by warming in many regions around the globe. Along with global change, coastal ecosystems are also impacted by local drivers such as eutrophication. The interaction between global and local drivers might modulate kelp responses to environmental change. This study examines the regulatory effect of NO3− on the thermal plasticity of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. To do this, thermal performance curves (TPCs) of key temperature-dependant traits–growth, photosynthesis, NO3− assimilation and chlorophyll a fluorescence–were examined under nitrate replete and deplete conditions in a short-term incubation. We found that thermal plasticity was modulated by NO3− but different thermal responses were observed among traits. Our study reveals that nitrogen, a local driver, modulates kelp responses to high seawater temperatures, ameliorating the negative impacts on physiological performance (i.e. growth and photosynthesis). However, this effect might be species-specific and vary among biogeographic regions – thus, further work is needed to determine the generality of our findings to other key temperate macroalgae that are experiencing temperatures close to their thermal tolerance due to climate change.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Fernandez, PA and Gaitan-Espitia, JD and Leal, PP and Schmid, M and Revill, AT and Hurd, CL
Keywords: ocean acidification, nitrogen, kelp, Macrocystis
Journal or Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI / ID Number: 10.1038/s41598-020-60104-4
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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