Ecophysiological implications of UV radiation in the interspecific interaction of Pyropia acanthophora and Grateloupia turuturu (Rhodophyta).
Radiation, both photosynthetic active radiation (PAR, l=400-700 nm) and Ultraviolet (UVR, l=280-400 nm) is one of the key factors regulating algal distribution in aquatic environments. Pyropia acanthophora and Grateloupia turuturu have been found over upper rocky shore areas in Southern Brazil, occupying the same niche space. The first species is native and the second one is exotic and considered a potential invader of South Atlantic. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of radiation on physiological responses of both species and infer mechanisms that allow their niche competition in the environment. Samples were cultured in the following conditions: associated or separated, and with an addition of PAR, PAR+UVA (PA) and PAR+UVA+UVB (PAB), totalizing six factorial treatments during 5 days of exposure. Photosynthetic responses of Fv/Fm and ETR were daily evaluated. At the beginning and at the end of the experiment, samples were analyzed for pigment content (chlorophyll a and phycobiliproteins), and mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), while oxygen evolution was evaluated at the end of the experiment. As the main results, G. turuturu died when cultivated in PAB conditions. P. acanthophora presented higher amounts of chlorophyll a than G. turuturu during the whole experiment. Phycoerythrin and Fv/Fm remained constant in P. acanthophora but diminished for G. turuturu in UV treatments. ETR was higher for samples that were cultivated in associative treatment. The presence of G. turuturu in the same flask enhanced MAA synthesis in P. acanthophora, regardless of radiation condition. In addition, UV radiation can be a factor controlling species distribution and could counteract the spreading of invasive species, like G. turuturu, allowing P. acanthophora survival in upper rocky shore zones of the natural ecological distribution area.