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Sea surface microlayer and elemental composition in phaeo‐, chloro‐, and rhodophytes in winter and spring

Kleiven, Wanda, Johnsen, Geir, Van Ardelan, Murat
Journal of phycology 2019 v.55 no.4 pp. 762-774
Rhodophyta, elemental composition, lead, littoral zone, macroalgae, rare earth elements, spectrometers, spring, trace elements, winter, Norway
Trace metal or rare earth element (REE) content of marine macroalgae are underexamined and there is a great need for further understanding since macroalgae are used for food and may also be bioindicators of environmental changes. This study, by using high resolution inductive coupled plasma spectrometer in a clean laboratory (class 1000), investigates the trace metal and REE concentrations and composition in the youngest tissue of various species within three algal classes in the Trondheimsfjord, Norway, comprising phaeo‐, chloro‐, and rhodophytes in winter (February) and Spring (May) 2013, with the main focus on phaeophytes. The macroalgae were found in a clear zonation pattern as a function of depth. A significant difference in element concentration and composition was found between the six phaeophyte species along with a significant difference between winter and spring tissue. A zonation depth trend in algal tissue element concentration was also found for the phaeophytes, where the algal species located in both extreme ends (upper vs. lower littoral zone) obtained a lower element concentration than the algae located in the middle part of the littoral zone. This trend seems to result from different algal contact with the metal‐rich sea surface microlayer. The chlorophytes had 5–27 times higher concentration of REE and lead (Pb) than the two other algal classes. Results indicate that the rhodo‐ and chlorophytes are better accumulators than the phaeophytes for several trace metals and REE.