Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-183
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2021-183

  04 Aug 2021

04 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Modeling the growth and sporulation dynamics of the macroalga Ulva in mixed-age populations in cultivation and the formation of green tides

Uri Obolski1,2, Thomas Wichard3, Alvaro Israel4, Alexander Golberg1, and Alexander Liberzon5 Uri Obolski et al.
  • 1Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2School of Public Health, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 3Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany
  • 4Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research Ltd. (PBC), Tel Shikmona, Haifa, Israel
  • 5School of Mechanical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Abstract. Ulva is a widespread green algal genus with important ecological roles and promising potential as a seagriculture crop. One of the major challenges when cultivating Ulva is sudden biomass disappearance, likely caused by uncontrolled and unpredicted massive sporulation. However, the dynamics of this process are still poorly understood. In this study, we propose a mathematical model describing the biomass accumulation and degradation of Ulva, considering the potential impact of sporulation inhibitors. We developed a differential equation model describing the time evolution of Ulva biomass. Our model simulates biomass in compartments of different Ulva ‘age’ classes, with varying growth and sporulation rates. Coupled with these classes is a differential equation describing the presence of a sporulation inhibitor, produced and secreted by the algae. Our model mimics observed Ulva dynamics. We present Ulva's biomass accumulation under different initial algae population age distributions and sporulation rates. Furthermore, we simulate water replacement, effectively depleting the sporulation inhibitor, and examine its effects on Ulva's biomass accumulation. The model developed in this work is the first step towards understanding the dynamics of Ulva growth and degradation. Future work refining and expanding our results should prove beneficial to the ecological research and industrial growth of Ulva.

Uri Obolski et al.

Status: open (until 18 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2021-183', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Sep 2021 reply

Uri Obolski et al.

Uri Obolski et al.

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Short summary
The algal genus Ulva plays a major role in coastal ecosystems worldwide and is a promising prospect as an seagriculture crop. A substantial hindrance to cultivating Ulva arises from sudden sporulation, leading to biomass loss. This process is not yet well understood. Here, we characterize the dynamics of Ulva growth, considering the potential impact of sporulation inhibitors, using a mathematical model. Our findings are an essential step towards understanding the dynamics of Ulva growth.
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