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Wright, L. S., T. Simpkins, K. Filbee-Dexter, and T. Wernberg. 2023. Temperature sensitivity of detrital photosynthesis. Annals of Botany.

Background and Aims Kelp forests are increasingly considered blue carbon habitats for ocean-based biological carbon dioxide removal, but knowledge gaps remain in our understanding of their carbon cycle. Of particular interest is the remineralisation of detritus, which can remain photosynthetically active. Here, we study a widespread, thermotolerant kelp (Ecklonia radiata) to explore detrital photosynthesis as a mechanism underlying temperature and light as two key drivers of remineralisation. Methods We used meta-analysis to constrain the thermal optimum (Topt) of E. radiata. Temperature and light were subsequently controlled over a 119-day ex situ decomposition experiment. Flow-through experimental tanks were kept in darkness at 15 °C or under a subcompensating maximal irradiance of 8 µmol photons m−2 s−1 at 15, 20 or 25 °C. Photosynthesis of laterals (analogues to leaves) was estimated using closed-chamber oxygen evolution in darkness and under a saturating irradiance of 420 µmol photons m−2 s−1. Key Results T opt of E. radiata was 18 °C across performance variables (photosynthesis, growth, abundance, size, mass and fertility), life stages (gametophyte and sporophyte) and populations. Our models predict that a temperature of >15 °C reduces the potential for E. radiata detritus to be photosynthetically viable, hence detrital Topt ≤ 15 °C. Detritus is viable under subcompensating irradiance, where it performs better than in darkness. Comparison of net and gross photosynthesis indicates that elevated temperature primarily decreases detrital photosynthesis, whereas darkness primarily increases detrital respiration compared with optimal experimental conditions, in which detrital photosynthesis can persist for ≥119 days. Conclusions T opt of kelp detritus is ≥3 °C colder than that of the intact plant. Given that E. radiata is one of the most temperature-tolerant kelps, this suggests that photosynthesis is generally more thermosensitive in the detrital phase, which partly explains the enhancing effect of temperature on remineralisation. In contrast to darkness, even subcompensating irradiance maintains detrital viability, elucidating the accelerating effect of depth and its concomitant light reduction on remineralisation to some extent. Detrital photosynthesis is a meaningful mechanism underlying at least two drivers of remineralisation, even below the photoenvironment inhabited by the attached alga.

Tazikeh, S., S. Zendehboudi, S. Ghafoori, A. Lohi, and N. Mahinpey. 2022. Algal bioenergy production and utilization: Technologies, challenges, and prospects. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 10: 107863.

Increasing demand for energy and also escalating environmental pollution show that industries cannot rely on fossil fuels, and it is necessary to adopt an alternative. In recent decades, algal bioenergy has emerged as a renewable energy source in different industries. However, algal bioenergy production is costly and faces different challenges and unknown aspects that need to be addressed. Experimental and theoretical research works have revealed that the efficiency of algal bioenergy production is influenced by several factors, including algae species, temperature, light, CO2, cultivation method, and available nutrients. Algal bioenergy production on commercial scales in cost-effective ways is the main aim of industries to compete with fossil fuels. Hence, it is vital to have a comprehensive knowledge of the previous findings and attain a suitable pathway for future studies/activities. In the present review paper, the potential of microalgae bioenergy production, influential parameters, previous experimental and theoretical studies, and different methods for microalgae biofuel production from cultivation stage to utilization are reviewed. Moreover, this work discusses the engineering activities and economic analysis of microalgae cultivation to utilization, and also useful suggestions are made for future research works. The outcomes of the present work confirm that innovative engineering methods can overcome scale-up challenging, increase the rate of production, and decrease the cost of algae bioenergy production. Hence, there is no long way to produce cost-effective algae bioenergy on commercial scales.

Laeseke, P., B. Martínez, A. Mansilla, and K. Bischof. 2021. Invaders in waiting? Non-equilibrium in Southern Hemisphere seaweed distributions may lead to underestimation of Antarctic invasion potential. Frontiers of Biogeography 13.

Bioinvasions pose a major threat to global biodiversity. Correlative Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) can be a valuable tool to identify invaders and invasion sites. However, in cases when species are in non-equilibrium with their native environment (i.e. do not fill their niche), correlative approach…

Avila, C., C. Angulo-Preckler, R. P. Martín-Martín, B. Figuerola, H. J. Griffiths, and C. L. Waller. 2020. Invasive marine species discovered on non–native kelp rafts in the warmest Antarctic island. Scientific Reports 10.

Antarctic shallow coastal marine communities were long thought to be isolated from their nearest neighbours by hundreds of kilometres of deep ocean and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The discovery of non–native kelp washed up on Antarctic beaches led us to question the permeability of these barr…