Unravelling the mechanisms underlying desiccation tolerance is crucial in order to understand the position of algal species in the intertidal zone. The alga Porphyra columbina lives in the uppermost part of the rocky intertidal zones around the world and was selected as a model for this study. Naturally desiccated plants were collected during low tide and studied for morphological changes, oxidative burst induction, biomolecule oxidation, antioxidant responses, and photosynthetic status. Naturally hydrated plants collected during high tides were used for comparative purposes. In addition, changes induced by desiccation were assessed in vitro and the capacity to recover from desiccation was determined by rehydrating the fronds in seawater. The global results show that desiccation induces morphological and cellular alterations accompanied by a loss of ∼96% of the water content. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was induced by desiccation and two peaks of H2O2 were detected at 1 and 3 h of desiccation. However, during in vitro rehydration post-desiccation, the ROS quickly returned to the basal levels. At the biomolecular level, only a low production of oxidized proteins was recorded during desiccation, whereas the activity of diverse antioxidant enzymes increased. However, this activity diminished to near basal levels during rehydration. The photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) during desiccation declined by 94–96% of the values recorded in hydrated plants. This reduction was generated by the low levels of trapped energy flux per cross-section (TRo/CS), electron transport flux per CS (ETo/CS), and density of reaction centres (RC/SCo) as well as the chlorophyll content. The inverse pattern was observed for the levels of phycocyanin and phycoerythrin content. Fv/Fm and the photosynthetic indicators were restored to normal levels after only 5 min of rehydration. The results indicate that desiccation in P. columbina causes overproduction of ROS that is efficiently attenuated. The morphological and photosynthetic changes could be operating as tolerance mechanisms due to the fact that these responses principally prevent biomolecular alteration and cellular collapse. Thus, the activation of different physiological mechanisms helps to explain the high tolerance to desiccation of P. columbina and, at least in part, the position of this species at the highest level in the intertidal zone.
Sporeling coalescence in Gracilaria chilensis Bird, McLachlan et Oliveira produces genetically polymorphic, chimeric individuals. If this is common in red algae, it may have significant biological consequences. In this study, we evaluate the hypotheses that coalescence is widespread among the Rhodophyta and that specific and convergent morphological and ecological responses characterize this as a unique growth style among marine algae. A literature survey on coalescence was undertaken to assess the distribution of this condition in the Florideophycidae. Sixty-two (54.9%) of 113 species considered germinated to form a disk. Subsequent development in 37 of these species showed crust formation and coalescence during development with other crusts in 31 species (84%). Coalescing red algae were members of the orders Ahnfeltiales, Corallinales, Gigartinales, Gracilariales, Halymeniales, Palmariales, and Rhodymeniales. Ultrastructural studies in species of Ahnfeltiopsis, Chondrus, Gracilaria, Mazzaella, and Sarcothalia suggested a common pattern of early development. Newly released, naked spores may fuse into a single cell, as they do in Chondrus canaliculatus, or they may develop individual cell walls that later are surrounded by a thickened common wall. Ultrastructural studies demonstrated two kinds of immediate development after the first mitotic division: direct development by symmetric divisions resulting in discoid sporelings or an indirect asymmetric arrangement of divisions before a diskoid sporeling was formed. Germination in coalescing species is a linear function of the initial spore density, whereas in noncoalescing species maximum germination occurs at intermediate densities. In the field, coalescing species may recruit either from solitary or aggregated spores. However, survival is significantly higher for plantlets grown from a larger number of coalescing spores. Total number of erect axes formed by the coalesced mass is a logarithmic function of the initial number of spores. Thus, germlings grown from a larger number of coalescing spores exhibited a larger photosynthetic canopy than do plantlets grown from a few spores. Juveniles and mature clumps grown from a coalescing mass may exhibit size inequalities among erect axes, with the larger axes located toward the center of the clump. These larger axes mature first or, in some cases, are the only to produce spores. The widespread occurrence of coalescence in 1 roughly half the number of orders of the Florideophycidae, the similarity of the coalescence process, and the finding of various adaptive traits associated with coalescence characterizes this as a unique growth style, splitting the diversity of species now included in the Florideophycidae into two major groups: coalescing and noncoalescing Rhodophyta.
This study identified the most common epiphytes infecting the algal host Gracilaria chilensis on a farm in northern Chile. Simultaneously, the types of host-epiphyte interfaces were characterized and their relative abundance and temporal variability were monitored. Five types of anatomical relationships were detected. Infection type I included the epiphytes weakly attached to the surface of the host and not associated with damage of host tissues (i.e. Hincksia mitchelliae, H. granulosa and Ectocarpus acutus). Infection type II included those epiphytes strongly attached to the surface of the host but not associated with any host tissue damage (i.e. Acrochaetium sp., Antithamnionella sp. and Colpomenia sinuosa). Infection type III included all the epiphytes that penetrated the outer layer of the host wall without damaging its cortical cells (i.e. Xenococcus sp. and Sahlingia subintegra). Infection type IV included epiphytes penetrating deep into the host cell wall, disorganizing the cortical tissue (i.e. Ulva lactuca and Acrosorium corallinarum). Infection type V included epiphytes that penetrated deeply into the cortex, reached the medullary tissue and caused destruction of the host's cells in the area around the infection (i.e. Ceramium rubrum and Polysiphonia harveyi). Prevalence varied with time and with infection type, with types II and III reaching up to 80% and 90% of the thalli respectively. Severity of epiphyte infection was similar to the distribution of infection prevalence, with crustose epiphytes colonizing up to 80% of the host surface.
We investigated the wound response of the commercially important red alga, Gracilaria chilensis, in order to obtain insight into its interaction with epiphytic pests. After wounding, the host releases free fatty acids as well as the hydroxylated eicosanoids, 8R-hydroxy eicosatetraenoic acid (8-HETE) and 7S,8R-dihydroxy eicosatetraenoic acid (7,8-di-HETE). While the release of free arachidonic acid and subsequent formation of 8-HETE is controlled by phospholipase A, 7,8-di-HETE production is independent of this lipase. This dihydroxylated fatty acid might be directly released from galactolipids. Physiologically relevant concentrations of oxylipins reduced spore settlement of Acrochaetium sp. (Rhodophyta, Acrochaetiaceae) and suppressed the development of hapteria in Ceramium rubrum (Rhodophyta, Ceramiaceae) when these model epiphytes were exposed to artificial surfaces that contained 8-HETE or 7,8-di-HETE. Thus, the immediate release of oxylipins can be seen as G. chilensis defence against epiphytes.
The kelp Lessonia nigrescens Bory is the most ecologically and economically important seaweed in rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats along the temperate Pacific South American coasts. Recent molecular studies suggest the existence of two lineages, one (northern lineage) from 17° S to 30° S and a second (central lineage) from 29° S to 41° S. To identify and name these lineages we performed morphological, nomenclatural and field studies. Four external and three internal anatomical traits permitted a morphological separation of the two lineages. The internal structure of both lineages was different from the isolectotype of Lessonia nigrescens. It is therefore concluded that the name Lessonia nigrescens should not be used for the Chilean material. Chordaria spicata Suhr appears as the oldest available name for the central lineage, while Lessonia berteroana Montagne is the oldest name for the northern lineage. In both cases, the type material consisted of small-sized, apical branches of larger plants. The new combination Lessonia spicata (Suhr) Santelices is proposed for the central lineage and we reinstate Lessonia berteroana for the northern lineage. Laminaria scissa Suhr is reduced to synonym of L. spicata. Representative specimens of Lessonia nigrescens were not found during new visits to its type locality in Cape Horn and along Chile. Future studies should verify the status of this species.
Several ontogenetic studies have been devoted to the structural organization of the developing tectum opticum. They disagree in many respects because they are based on histological preparations performed with differently oriented planes of section. According to our results the differences found in the literature mainly result from the fact that the developmental gradient axis undergoes remarkable positional changes with respect to both optic lobe and neural tube longitudinal anatomical axes during the early stages of development. The present work is a dynamic description of the tectum opticum lamination based on sections coinciding with the developmental gradient. Since this latter displays a curved disposition, several slightly modified planes of section had to be used to obtain a complete picture along the developmental gradient. The development of the tectal architecture proceeds from a relatively simple organization through increasingly complex multilaminated patterns. A dynamic interpretation of successive images of a particular region observed at increasing developmental stages or of images observed at a particular stage along the entire length of the developmental gradient axis, allows us to propose that embryonic laminae are only transient spatial arrangements of cells actively migrating from the sites where they were generated to those where they will definitively reside. These considerations led us to define a nomenclature that establishes clear correlations between the early transient organizations and the definitive one of the fully developed optic tectum. This type of nomenclature could be usefully applied to describe dynamically the development of structures displaying multilaminated patterns such as other cortical zones of the central nervous system.
Migratory waterfowl play an important role in the maintenance and spread of zoonotic diseases worldwide. An example is cercarial dermatitis, caused when larval stages of schistosomes that normally develop in birds penetrate human skin. Members of the genus Trichobilharzia (Schistosomatidae), transmitted mainly by ducks, are considered to be major etiological agents of cercarial dermatitis globally. To better understand the diversity and distribution of Trichobilharzia spp., we surveyed ducks from the United States, eastern Canada, Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand. To aid in species identification of the Trichobilharzia worms recovered, regions of the Cox1, ND4 and ITS1 were sequenced. Furthermore, we provide molecular phylogenetic evidence for the cosmopolitan distribution and trans-hemispheric gene flow for one species, Trichobilharzia querquedulae, previously thought to be restricted to North America. These new samples from endemic non-migratory duck species indicate that T. querquedulae transmission occurs within each of the regions we sampled and that it is specific to the blue-winged+silver teal duck clade. Prevalence within this host group is >95% across the known range of T. querquedulae, indicating that transmission is common. Genetic divergence is evenly distributed among continents, and no phylogenetic structure associated with geography was observed. The results provide strong support for the global distribution and transmission of T. querquedulae and represent, to our knowledge, the first report of a cosmopolitan schistosome confirmed by genetic data. These data are the first known to support trans-hemispheric genetic exchange in a species responsible for causing cercarial dermatitis, indicating that the epidemiology of this group of poorly known zoonotic parasites is more complex than previously expected.
This study is the first report of an algal disease, developed in close association with an endophytic organism, documented for the southeastern Pacific. We describe a disease affecting wild populations of the red alga Iridaea laminarioides Bory in central Chile, characterized by gall development on the surface of sporophytic, cystocarpic, and immature thalli. These abnormal growths result in severe morphological alterations of the affected thalli. Diseased fronds display an aggregated spatial distribution and occur throughout the year, with a maximum in summer followed by a decline in winter. The presence of galls was not associated with broken or torn fronds. Although causality has not been unequivocally demonstrated, our field and laboratory observations indicate a strong association of the galls with infections by an endophytic cyanobacterium, probably belonging to the genus Pleurocapsa.
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