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Seasonality of marine macrophytes productivity in an Arctic coastal ecosystem undergoing a climatic transition. Alterations promoted by Global Change-related temperature rising (MACROARTES)

In this project we are going to characterise the acclimation of common macroalgae from Kongsfjorden to the photoperiod in each season, as well as to evaluate the photoinhibition imposed by continuous light. These manipulations will be carried out at 3 and 8 ºC to evaluate the alteration provoked by the increase in temperature.

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Project date

Starts
2016-01-01

Ends
2019-12-31

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Project type

  • field work

Discipline

  • marine biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / benthic habitat
  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / coastal habitat

Fieldwork information

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Summary

The Kongsfjorden ecosystem in the Svalbard archipielago is undergoing a change in its conditions from Arctic to Atlantic, due to an increase in temperature and the influence of oceanic currents derived from the Global Climate Change. This transition means the disappearance of the control from the presence of ice, since this is already absent year-round. Recently, we have gained understanding on the effects of increased CO2, temperature and UV radiation on Arctic macroalgae, but this information is mainly restricted to the summer months. Due to continuous sun irradiance, macroalgae in summer are under chronic photoinhibition which disappears as the darkness of night starts to take place in autumn and plants can undergo recovery. We hypothesise that the effect of the increase in temperature may be different in seasons with the presence of night-darkness, and can even compromise survival during the long winter night (more than 3 months) due to the acceleration of respiration. It is crucial to know the ability of macroalgae inhabiting Kongsfjorden to regulate its relation with light and photoperiod at increasing temperature to understand how the ongoing change is going to affect the ecosystem. The project takes advantage of a unique opportunity offered by our collaborators from the Alfred Wegener Institut (AWI, Germany) who are planning to deploy a diving team from March to September as part of their own seasonal-study iniciative. The ecophysiological experiments planned here complement the AWI experiments, so that models for primary productivity of the macrophytobenthos can be generated for the whole fjord. In this project we are going to characterise the acclimation of common macroalgae species of Kongsfjorden to the photoperiod in each season, as well as to evaluate the photoinhibition imposed by continuous light. These manipulations will be carried out at 3 and 8 ºC to evaluate the alteration provoked by the increase in temperature. Photosynthesis will be measured by O2 evolution, PAM fluorimetry and 14C fixation in order to identify the uncoupling mechanisms. The internal composition (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, chlorophyll a, and C:N balance) will also be measured as they are presumably changing with both the seasons and the temperature. Cell stress is going to be evaluated by ROS accumulation, antioxidant activities, and MAPK-mediated signalling cascades. Three campaigns of 3 weeks duration each are planned for September 2016, March 2017 and June-July 2017 in the scientific village of Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard), using the Marine Laboratorium and AWI's infrastructure and services. Continuous darkness experiments will be carried out in Malaga in the existing polar culture room.

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