Fucus serratus was used in a series of laboratory experiments to study the effects of Cu2+ exposure on the early development of zygotes and physiological effects on adults collected from Cu2+ polluted and clean habitats. Comparative studies showed that Cu2+ tolerance in Fucus is an inherited character. Zygote development and growth of embryos and adults during Cu2+ exposure indicated that Fucus serratus from a Cu2+ polluted habitat had a higher tolerance limit than material from two clean habitats. Furthermore, there was no difference in the tolerance level of zygotes, embryos and adults from the same habitat. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements showed that Cu2+ affected photosynthetic electron transport at PSII, and increased the sensitivity of the alga to saturating light. These effects were most pronounced in non-resistant alga. The algae responded to reduced photosynthetic efficiency by increased non-photochemical quenching, that was more apparent in resistant than in non-resistant algae.

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