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Use of cell-specific PAM-fluorometry to characterize host shading in the epiphytic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus
Villareal, T.A.; Morton, S.L. (2002). Use of cell-specific PAM-fluorometry to characterize host shading in the epiphytic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus. Mar. Ecol. (Berl.) 23(2): 127-140
In: Marine Ecology (Berlin). Blackwell: Berlin. ISSN 0173-9565, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Acclimation; Ciguatera; Coral reefs; Light effects; Gambierdiscus toxicus R.Adachi & Y.Fukuyo, 1979 [WoRMS]; ASW, Belize, South Water Cay [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Villareal, T.A.
  • Morton, S.L.

    Cell-specific fluorescence characteristics were used to characterize the light tolerance of the toxic benthic dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus. The fluorescence parameter Fv : Fm was measured using pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) fluorometry on individual cells collected from foliose red algae growing in the sub-tidal margin of South Water Cay, Belize. Samples were collected over several days during sunny and cloudy conditions and compared to samples incubated in situ. The data from individual cells were used to generate both Fv : Fm frequency histograms and averages. Maximum individual cell values of Fv : Fm reached 0.81 in pre-dawn samples, a value near the theoretical maximum for PAM fluorometry. In field samples from macroalgal hosts, average Fv : Fm values declined only slightly during the day, but cells incubated in bottles under 47 % incident sunlight showed a significant mid-day depression. In freshly collected samples, near-maximum Fv : Fm values could be found in individual cells during the entire day; however, the frequency histograms indicated a greater range in Fv : Fm values during the afternoon than in the morning. In contrast, cultures of G. toxicus showed a tight distribution around a mean. Field samples showed a rapid recovery to near-maximum Fv : Fm within 2 min when assayed using a standardized actinic light series. Similar results were obtained in laboratory cultures of G. toxicus grown at 73 µmol photons · m-2 · s-1, but not at 383 µmol photons · m-2 · s-1. These data provide empirical support for suggestions that G. toxicus exploits the three-dimensional structure of the algal host thallus to minimize light exposure. This strategy permits G. toxicus, a high-light intolerant species in culture, to thrive in shallow, well-lit tropical seas. It may also partially explain the observed preference of G. toxicus for complex, foliose macroalgae as hosts.

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