Impacts of a temperate to tropical voyage on the microalgal hull fouling community of an atypically-operated vessel

Microalgal communities that colonize the hulls of at-risk vessels – those which have the highest port residency times, lowest speeds, and most stationary time in water - are expected to change as a function of environmental factors during ocean voyages, but are rarely studied. The microalgal communities on the hull of an atypically operated ship, the T.S. Golden Bear, were quantified during the course of a voyage from San Francisco Bay to the South Pacific and back. Here the authors clearly demonstrate that microalgal communities can be highly resilient, and can survive physiologically strenuous journeys through extreme variation in salinity and temperature. A 42% reduction in microalgal biomass and a 62% reduction in algal cellular abundance indicated a community-wide negative reaction to an increase in both salinity and temperature after the ship left San Francisco Bay, CA and cruised southward to Long Beach, although in vivo cellular fluorescence capacity increased. Further reductions in biomass (36%) and cellular abundance (26%) occurred once the ship encountered high-temperature, high-salinity waters in Hawaii. A 17% reduction of cellular fluorescence capacity was also observed in Hawaii. Despite previous environmental stressors, upon return to temperate waters off Vallejo, CA, biomass increased 230%, cellular abundance remained stable, and cellular fluorescence capacity increased from 0.45 ± 0.26 to 0.60 ± 0.07. The methods used in the current research provide efficient, cost-effective procedures for analyzing microalgal (and macrofouling) communities, which can in turn aid regulators in creating such necessary thresholds for enforcement.


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  • Accession Number: 01769774
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 15 2021 3:21PM