Changes in pH as a measure of photosynthesis by marine macroalgae
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- Axelsson, L. Mar. Biol. (1988) 97: 287. doi:10.1007/BF00391314
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An automatically operated method for high precision measurements of steady-state photosynthesis by macroalgae was developed. Changes in pH and oxygen content of seawater passing the algae in a flowthrough system, could be measured with extremely high accuracy over very long periods of time. The method is especially suitable for measurements on flowthrough systems with high rates of water exchanges (i.e. short retention time), and can be used to study exchange processes for marine plants, animals and small ecosystems. Since the same measuring unit is used for several flowthrough chambers, the method is very suitable for comparisons between different species, or between differently pretreated specimens of the same species (e.g. in toxicological studies). The method was used to study the ratio: [oxygen production] to [CO2+H+ uptake] at different light intensities for several macroalgae belonging to different systematic groups and from different habitats. At lower photosynthetic rates this ratio was similar for all of the algae studied (1.17±0.02). For brown algae of the fucacean family, the ratio increased by 0.08 units at higher photosynthetic rates. This increase was thought to be related to the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)-like strategies connected to these algae. For all other algae studied, the ratio remained constant or decreased slightly (at most by 0.04 units) at higher photosynthetic rates. The relations between the abovementioned ratio and the photosynthetic quotient are discussed on a theoretical basis.