Phytoplankton and phytobenthos pigment strategies: implications for algal survival in the changing Arctic

Abstract

We compared phytoplankton and phytobenthos pigment strategies in 17 shallow lakes and ponds from northern Canada and Alaska, sampled during mid to late summer. Benthic chlorophyll a concentrations (8–261 mg m−2) greatly exceeded those of the phytoplankton (0.008–1.4 mg m−2) in all sites. Cyanobacteria dominated the phytobenthos, while green algae and fucoxanthin-groups characterized the plankton. Both communities had higher photoprotection in cold, UV-transparent, high latitude waters. Phytoplankton had higher concentrations of photoprotective carotenoids per unit chlorophyll a than the phytobenthos. The planktonic photoprotective pigments were positively correlated with UV-penetration, and inversely correlated with temperature and coloured dissolved organic matter. A partial redundancy analysis showed that the benthic pigments were related to latitude, area and temperature. The UV-screening compound scytonemin occurred in high concentrations in the phytobenthos and was inversely related to temperature, while benthic carotenoids per unit chlorophyll a showed much lower variability among sites. These differing pigment strategies imply divergent responses to environmental change between the phytobenthos and phytoplankton in high latitude lakes.

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-009-0626-1

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Cite this paper

@article{Bonilla2009PhytoplanktonAP, title={Phytoplankton and phytobenthos pigment strategies: implications for algal survival in the changing Arctic}, author={Sylvia Bonilla and Milla Rautio and W. F. Vincent}, journal={Polar Biology}, year={2009}, volume={32}, pages={1293-1303} }