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Growth form defines physiological photoprotective capacity in intertidal benthic diatoms
Barnett, A; Meleder, V; Blommaert, L.; Lepetit, B; Gaudin, P; Vyverman, W.; Sabbe, K.; Dupuy, C; Lavaud, J (2015). Growth form defines physiological photoprotective capacity in intertidal benthic diatoms. ISME J. 9(1): 32-45. dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2014.105
In: The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1751-7362; e-ISSN 1751-7370, meer
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  • Barnett, A
  • Meleder, V
  • Blommaert, L.
  • Lepetit, B
  • Gaudin, P
  • Vyverman, W.
  • Sabbe, K.
  • Dupuy, C
  • Lavaud, J

Abstract
    In intertidal marine sediments, characterized by rapidly fluctuating and often extreme light conditions, primary production is frequently dominated by diatoms. We performed a comparative analysis of photophysiological traits in 15 marine benthic diatom species belonging to the four major morphological growth forms (epipelon (EPL), motile epipsammon (EPM-M) and non-motile epipsammon (EPM-NM) and tychoplankton (TYCHO)) found in these sediments. Our analyses revealed a clear relationship between growth form and photoprotective capacity, and identified fast regulatory physiological photoprotective traits (that is, non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) and the xanthophyll cycle (XC)) as key traits defining the functional light response of these diatoms. EPM-NM and motile EPL showed the highest and lowest NPQ, respectively, with EPM-M showing intermediate values. Like EPL, TYCHO had low NPQ, irrespective of whether they were grown in benthic or planktonic conditions, reflecting an adaptation to a low light environment. Our results thus provide the first experimental evidence for the existence of a trade-off between behavioural (motility) and physiological photoprotective mechanisms (NPQ and the XC) in the four major intertidal benthic diatoms growth forms using unialgal cultures. Remarkably, although motility is restricted to the raphid pennate diatom clade, raphid pennate species, which have adopted a non-motile epipsammic or a tychoplanktonic life style, display the physiological photoprotective response typical of these growth forms. This observation underscores the importance of growth form and not phylogenetic relatedness as the prime determinant shaping the physiological photoprotective capacity of benthic diatoms.

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