Polar Biology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 105-111

First online:

Light-temperature interactions in the control of photosynthesis in Antarctic phytoplankton

  • Max M. TilzerAffiliated withLimnologisches Institut, Universität Konstanz
  • , malte ElbrächterAffiliated withLitoral Station List, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland
  • , Winfried W. GieskesAffiliated withNetherlands Institute for Sea Research
  • , Bärbel BeeseAffiliated withLimnologisches Institut, Universität Konstanz

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During October/November 1983 photosynthetic responses of natural phytoplankton from the Scotia Sea and Bransfield strait to light and temperature were examined in incubators. Both assimilation numbers at saturating light levels and the slopes of the light-limited portions of the photosynthesis versus irradiance curves were smaller than in algae from lower latitudes. However, both parameters increased significantly with rising temperatures. Light-saturated photosynthesis on the average exhibited a Q10-value of ca. 4.2 between-1.5°C and +2°C. Light-limited photosynthesis between-1.5°C and +5°C rose at a rate corresponding to a Q10-value of roughly 2.6. Above +5°C, temperature enhancement of both light-saturated and light-limited photosynthetic rates was minimal or absent. Our results suggest that under extremely low temperatures light-limited photosynthetic rates become temperature-dependent due to changes in maximum quantum yields.