Effects of copper and cadmium on physiology and antifouling defense of the marine macroalga Ulva reticulata

Wejdan Ahmed Al-Khaldi, Lafi Al Solami, Sathianeson Satheesh

Paper category: Original research paper
Corresponding author: Sathianeson Satheesh (satheesh_s2005@yahoo.co.in)
DOI: 10.1515/ohs-2021-0017
Received: 02/10/2020
Accepted: 15/12/2020
Full text: here

Citation: Al-Khaldi,W.,Al Solami,L. & Satheesh,S.(2021).Effects of copper and cadmium on physiology and antifouling defense of the marine macroalga Ulva reticulata. Oceanological and Hydrobiological Studies,50(2) 184-197. https://doi.org/10.2478/oandhs-2021-0017


Heavy metals are major stressors for benthic macroalgal communities in marine ecosystems. In this study, the effects of copper and cadmium on some physiological parameters along with antifouling defense of the marine macroalga Ulva reticulata were assessed under laboratory conditions. Macroalgal samples were treated with three concentrations (1 mg l−1, 3 mg l−1 and 5 mg l−1) of copper and cadmium for 2 and 7 days. After treatment, algal samples were analyzed for chlorophyll-a, carotenoid, total polyphenol and total antioxidant capacity. Also, algal extracts were tested against biofilm-forming bacteria strains to understand differences in antifouling activity. The results indicated that exposure of U. reticulata to copper and cadmium, on the one hand, induced protective mechanisms such as total phenol production and antioxidant capacity against metal stress and, on the other hand, reduced photosynthesis. While the extract obtained from control algal samples showed a strong inhibitory effect on the growth of biofilm-forming bacteria, treatment with heavy metals resulted in reduced antibiofilm activity. In general, the results revealed that exposure of macroalgae to heavy metals can affect antifouling defense traits in addition to changes in photosynthetic pigment content.


We thank the Faculty of Marine Sciences, King Abdulaziz University for providing necessary facilities.


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