, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 289-295

Effects of light intensity on photosynthesis and dark respiration in six species of marine phytoplankton

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Using an oxygen polarographic electrode, the shapes of photosynthetic curves and the effects of light on dark respiration in 6 species of marine phytoplankton wer examined. The species used were Skeletonema costatum, Ditylum brightwellii, Cyclotella nana (Thalassiosira pseudonana) (all Bacillariophyceae), Dunaliella tertiolecta (Chlorophyceae), Isochrysis galbana (Haptophyceae), and Gonyaulax tamarensis (Dinophyceae). A hysteresis was observed in all species examined with respect to increasing and decreasing light. Compensation light intensities varied by over 4 orders of magnitude, suggesting that the 1% light depth is an ambiguous measure of the euphotic zone. The data suggest that dark respiration accounts for ca. 25% of gross photosynthesis, but is species-dependent. In addition, respiration versus cell size does not describe an inverse exponential function over the size scales examined.

This research was performed under the auspices of the United States Energy Research and Development Administration under Contract No. EY-76-C-02-0016.
Communicated by M.R. Tripp, Newark