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Is DMSP synthesis in chlorophycean macro-algae linked to aerial dispersal?

Is DMSP synthesis in chlorophycean macro-algae linked to aerial dispersal?

Ethology Ecology & Evolution 11(3): 265-278, Sept

Dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) has been proposed to be a compatible (osmotic) solute in marine macro-algae, allowing adaptation to changes in the osmotic pressure of the growth medium. However, whilst DMSP undoubtedly does contribute substantially to the overall osmotic pressure of the cytoplasm, several studies have demonstrated that its intracellular concentration is not directly regulated by the osmotic pressure of the growth medium. Thus, DMSP does not behave as a compatible solute sensu stricto and therefore its role may not be strictly osmotic. Recently, Hamilton and Lenton (1998) proposed that DMS emissions associated with blooms of DMSP accumulating marine phytoplankton may be linked to an aerial mode of dispersal via the induction of cloud formation and local convective winds. Only micro-algae were discussed. All macro-algae, however, also have unicellular stages as gametes or spores which could become windborne. In this paper, we review the literature on the life histories, growth cycles and ecology of marine DMSP synthesising chlorophycean macro-algae, in order to assess whether a similar dispersal mechanism may exist within this group. Whilst only direct experimental evidence can resolve if these macro-algae are dispersed or not by an aerial mechanism, many features of their growth, reproductive and life cycles are consistent with such a mechanism. Such an aerial dispersal mechanism might represent an especial ecological advantage in this group, allowing colonisation of areas separated by land masses or denied to normal waterborne dispersal routes by directional currents.

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Accession: 010885975

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DOI: 10.1080/08927014.1999.9522827

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