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Microspatial variability in community structure and photophysiology of calcified macroalgal microbiomes revealed by coupling of hyperspectral and high-resolution fluorescence imaging

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Original languageEnglish
Article number22343
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Feb 2016
DatePublished (current) - 29 Feb 2016

Abstract

Calcifying coralline macroalgae provide biogenic habitats colonised by epiphytic microalgae that contribute significantly to community productivity. Georeferenced hyperspectral and high-resolution fluorescence imaging were coupled to microspatially mapped community composition and relative biomass of macroalgal host and epiphyte microalgal groups, and their weighted contributions to productivity within host fronds of Corallina officinalis on upper and lower zones of a rocky shore were determined. Lower shore epiphytes were dominated by filamentous diatoms (Bacillariophyta), confined to the apex of the frond structure, which were low light acclimated but retained a high capacity for photoprotective down regulation and contributed up to 51% of total community productivity. Upper shore epiphytes were dominated by green algae (Chlorophyta) and single-celled diatoms (principally Cocconeis spp.), which were high light acclimated but present at far lower relative biomass and contributed negligibly to productivity. The host, C. officinalis was the main primary producer. Variation in light environment resulting from differences in shore height and shading within the host macroalga, likely play a large role in determining patterns in epiphyte community structure, biomass and productivity observed. Additionally, microspatial gradients in photophysiological parameters along the host macroalga likely resulted from age-dependent variation in pigments as well as the gradient in light environment.

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