Photosynthetic and other phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase isoforms in the single-cell, facultative C(4) system of Hydrilla verticillata.
The submersed monocot Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle is a facultative C(4) plant. It typically exhibits C(3) photosynthetic characteristics, but exposure to low [CO(2)] induces a C(4) system in which the C(4) and Calvin cycles co-exist in the same cell and the initial fixation in the light is catalyzed by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC). Three full-length cDNAs encoding PEPC were isolated from H. verticillata, two from leaves and one from root. The sequences were 95% to 99% identical and shared a 75% to 85% similarity with other plant PEPCs. Transcript studies revealed that one isoform, Hvpepc4, was exclusively expressed in leaves during C(4) induction. This and enzyme kinetic data were consistent with it being the C(4) photosynthesis isoform. However, the C(4) signature serine of terrestrial plant C(4) isoforms was absent in this and the other H. verticillata sequences. Instead, alanine, typical of C(3) sequences, was present. Western analyses of C(3) and C(4) leaf extracts after anion-exchange chromatography showed similar dominant PEPC-specific bands at 110 kD. In phylogenetic analyses, the sequences grouped with C(3), non-graminaceous C(4), and Crassulacean acid metabolism PEPCs but not with the graminaceous C(4), and formed a clade with a gymnosperm, which is consistent with H. verticillata PEPC predating that of other C(4) angiosperms. (+info)
Floating plant dominance as a stable state.
Invasion by mats of free-floating plants is among the most important threats to the functioning and biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems ranging from temperate ponds and ditches to tropical lakes. Dark, anoxic conditions under thick floating-plant cover leave little opportunity for animal or plant life, and they can have large negative impacts on fisheries and navigation in tropical lakes. Here, we demonstrate that floating-plant dominance can be a self-stabilizing ecosystem state, which may explain its notorious persistence in many situations. Our results, based on experiments, field data, and models, represent evidence for alternative domains of attraction in ecosystems. An implication of our findings is that nutrient enrichment reduces the resilience of freshwater systems against a shift to floating-plant dominance. On the other hand, our results also suggest that a single drastic harvest of floating plants can induce a permanent shift to an alternative state dominated by rooted, submerged growth forms. (+info)
Hurricane effects on a shallow lake ecosystem and its response to a controlled manipulation of water level.
In order to reverse the damage to aquatic plant communities caused by multiple years of high water levels in Lake Okeechobee, Florida (U.S.), the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) authorized a "managed recession" to substantially lower the surface elevation of the lake in spring 2000. The operation was intended to achieve lower water levels for at least 8 weeks during the summer growing season, and was predicted to result in a large-scale recovery of submerged vascular plants. We treated this operation as a whole ecosystem experiment, and assessed ecological responses using data from an existing network of water quality and submerged plant monitoring sites. As a result of large-scale discharges of water from the lake, coupled with losses to evaporation and to water supply deliveries to agriculture and other regional users, the lake surface elevation receded by approximately 1 m between April and June. Water depths in shoreline areas that historically supported submerged plant communities declined from near 1.5 m to below 0.5 m. Low water levels persisted for the entire summer. Despite shallow depths, the initial response (in June 2000) of submerged plants was very limited and water remained highly turbid (due at first to abiotic seston and later to phytoplankton blooms). Turbidity decreased in July and the biomass of plants increased. However, submerged plant biomass did not exceed levels observed during summer 1999 (when water depths were greater) until August. Furthermore, a vascular plant-dominated assemblage (Vallisneria, Potamogeton, and Hydrilla) that occurred in 1999 was replaced with a community of nearly 98% Chara spp. (a macro-alga) in 2000. Hence, the lake"s submerged plant community appeared to revert to an earlier successional stage despite what appeared to be better conditions for growth. To explain this unexpected response, we evaluated the impacts that Hurricane Irene may have had on the lake in the previous autumn. In mid-October 1999, this category 1 hurricane passed just to the south of the lake, with wind velocities over the lake surface reaching 90 km h(-1) at their peak. Output from a three-dimensional hydrodynamic/sediment transport model indicates that during the storm, current velocities in surface waters of the lake increased from near 5 cm s(-1) to as high as 100 cm s(-1). These strong velocities were associated with large-scale uplifting and horizontal transport of fine- grained sediments from the lake bottom. Water quality data collected after the storm confirmed that the hurricane resulted in lake-wide nutrient and suspended solids concentrations far in excess of those previously documented for a 10-year data set. These conditions persisted through the winter months and may have negatively impacted plants that remained in the lake at the end of the 1999 growing season. The results demonstrate that in shallow lakes, unpredictable external forces, such as hurricanes, can play a major role in ecosystem dynamics. In regions where these events are common (e.g., the tropics and subtropics), consideration should be given to how they might affect long-term lake management programs. (+info)
Detection of the free-living forms of sulfide-oxidizing gill endosymbionts in the lucinid habitat (Thalassia testudinum environment).
Target DNA from the uncultivable Codakia orbicularis endosymbiont was PCR amplified from sea-grass sediment. To confirm that such amplifications originated from intact bacterial cells rather than free DNA, whole-cell hybridization (fluorescence in situ hybridization technique) with the specific probe Symco2 was performed along with experimental infection of aposymbiotic juveniles placed in contact with the same sediment. Taken together, the data demonstrate that the sulfide-oxidizing gill endosymbiont of Codakia orbicularis is present in the environment as a free-living uncultivable form. (+info)
Occurrence of sulfated galactans in marine angiosperms: evolutionary implications.
We report for the first time that marine angiosperms (seagrasses) possess sulfated polysaccharides, which are absent in terrestrial and freshwater plants. The structure of the sulfated polysaccharide from the seagrass Ruppia maritima was determined. It is a sulfated D-galactan composed of the following regular tetrasaccharide repeating unit: [3-beta-D-Gal-2(OSO3)-1-->4-alpha-D-Gal-1-->4-alpha-D-Gal-1-->3-beta-D-Gal-4(OSO3 )-1-->]. Sulfated galactans have been described previously in red algae and in marine invertebrates (ascidians and sea urchins). The sulfated galactan from the marine angiosperm has an intermediate structure when compared with the polysaccharides from these two other groups of organisms. Like marine invertebrate galactan, it expresses a regular repeating unit with a homogenous sulfation pattern. However, seagrass galactan contains the D-enantiomer of galactose instead of the L-isomer found in marine invertebrates. Like red algae, the marine angiosperm polysaccharide contains both alpha and beta units of D-galactose; however, these units are not distributed in an alternating order, as in algal galactan. Sulfated galactan is localized in the plant cell walls, mostly in rhizomes and roots, indicative of a relationship with the absorption of nutrients and of a possible structural function. The occurrence of sulfated galactans in marine organisms may be the result of physiological adaptations, which are not correlated with phylogenetic proximity. We suggest that convergent adaptation, due to environment pressure, may explain the occurrence of sulfated galactans in many marine organisms. (+info)
Effects of temperature on decomposition of a potential nuisance species: the submerged aquatic macrophyte Egeria najas Planchon (Hydrocharitaceae).
Decomposition of aquatic plants is influenced by several biotic and abiotic factors. Among them, temperature plays an important role. Despite the increasing number of studies describing the effects of temperature on the decomposition of aquatic macrophytes, little attention has been given to the decay of submerged macrophytes. In this paper, we assessed the effect of temperature on weight loss and chemical composition of detritus of the submerged aquatic macrophyte Egeria najas Planchon (Hydrocharitaceae). Fresh plant material was maintained at 17 degrees C and 27 degrees C, in the dark, in incubation chambers. The overall decay process was best described by a linear model, with rates of 0.014 day(-1) (R2= 94%) and 0.045 day(-1) (R2= 96%) obtained at 17 degrees C and 27 degrees C, respectively. The analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated a significant difference between the decomposition rates at the two temperatures. The rapid breakdown of E. najas detritus, indicated by the decay coefficient, may be explained by its low content of resistant compounds such as cellulose and lignin. The variables analyzed in this study (pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen in the water and organic matter, total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentration in detritus) showed accentuated responses at 27 degrees C. It is likely that the higher temperature increased microbial activity and, therefore, oxygen consumption in the water, consequently affecting the pH and the rate of ion and nutrient liberation into the aquatic ecosystem. Due to the rapid decomposition of E. najas at high temperatures, a small exportation is expected of this species from its stands to distant regions in tropical reservoirs, where it is considered a potential nuisance species. (+info)
The interaction of CO2 concentration and spatial location on O2 flux and mass transport in the freshwater macrophytes Vallisneria spiralis and V. americana.
The biology of aquatic organisms determines the maximum rates of physiological processes, but the mass transport of nutrients determines the nominal rates at which these processes occur. Maximum O(2) flux (P(max)) at 17.1 mmol m(-3) CO(2) was higher for the leaves of the freshwater macrophyte Vallisneria spiralis [P(max)=0.013+/-0.001 mmol m(-2) s(-1) (g(chla+b) m(-2))(-1) (mean +/- s.e.m.)] than for the closely related species, Vallisneria americana [P(max)=0.008+/-0.001 mmol m(-2) s(-1) (g(chla+b) m(-2))(-1)]. The O(2) flux saturated at freestream velocities >4.5+/-1.2 cm s(-1) and was spatially invariant for both species. However, a tenfold decrease in CO concentration to 1.71 mmol m(-3) changed the nature of the relationship between O(2) flux and spatial location along the leaf surface, and reduced the O(2) flux of V. spiralis to values similar to V. americana. The O(2) flux [P(max)=0.007+/-0.001 mmol m(-2) s(-1) (g(chla+b) m(-2))(-1)] saturated at the upstream location (i.e. 1 cm from the leading edge of the leaf) but was found to increase linearly with freestream velocity [slope=0.057+/-0.011 mmol m(-2) s(-1) (g(chla+b) m(-2))(-1) (m s(-1))(-1)] at the downstream location (i.e. 7 cm from the leading edge) at freestream velocities >1.8+/-0.9 cm s(-1). Conversely, mass transfer rates did not vary with CO(2) concentration, and were characteristic of a laminar concentration boundary layer at the upstream location and a turbulent concentration boundary layer at the downstream location. Rates of mass transfer measured directly from O(2) profiles were not predicted by theoretical values based on hydrodynamic measurements. Moreover, the concentration boundary layer thickness (delta(CBL)) values measured directly from O(2) profiles were 48+/-2% and 21+/-1% of the predicted theoretical delta(CBL) values at the upstream and downstream locations, respectively. It is evident that physiological processes involving mass transport are coupled and vary in space. Mass transport investigations of biological systems based solely on hydrodynamic measurements need to be interpreted with caution. (+info)
Batch and continuous packed column studies of cadmium biosorption by Hydrilla verticillata biomass.
The removal of heavy metal ions by the nonliving biomass of aquatic macrophytes was studied. We investigated Cd biosorption by dry Hydrilla verticillata biomass. Data obtained in batch experiments indicate that H. verticillata is an excellent biosorbent for Cd. Cd was rapidly adsorbed and such adsorption reached equilibrium within 20 min. The initial pH of the solution affected Cd sorption efficiency. Results obtained from the other batch experiments conformed well to those obtained using the Langmuir model. The maximum adsorption capacity q(max) for H. verticillata was 15.0 mg/g for Cd. The breakthrough curve from the continuous flow studies shows that H. verticillata in the fixed-bed column is capable of decreasing Cd concentration from 10 to a value below the detection limit of 0.02 mg/l. The presence of Zn ions affected Cd biosorption. It can be concluded that H. verticillata is a good biosorbent for treating wastewater with a low concentration of Cd contaminants. (+info)