Marine Biology

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 225–232 | Cite as

Photosynthesis-irradiance responses and photosynthetic periodicity in the sea anemone Aiptasia pulchella and its zooxanthellae

  • G. Muller-Parker


Sea anemones (Aiptasia pulchella) containing zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium microadriaticum) were maintained in a long-term laboratory culture on a 12 h light (100 μE m-2 s-1):12 h dark cycle. Photosynthetic oxygen production was measured for the symbiotic association and for freshlyisolated zooxanthellae. Light utilization efficiencies (α) were similar for both sets of zooxanthellae, suggesting negligible shading of zooxanthellae by animal tissue in this association. Whereas freshly-isolated zooxanthellae were photoinhibited at high irradiances (800 to 1 800 μE m-2 s-1), zooxanthellae in the host continued to function at photosynthetic capacity. Time of day may influence photosynthetic measurements in symbiotic organisms, as it was found that photosynthesis in A. pulchella followed a diel periodicity at both light-saturating (1 200 μE m-2 s-1) and subsaturating (150 μE m-2 s-1) irradiances. There was a peak period of photosynthesis between 12.00 and 14.00 hrs. Light stimulated dark respiration rates of A. pulchella. Dark respiration of sea anemones increased somewhat towards the end of the light cycle and was always greater after exposure to high irradiances.


Photosynthesis Photosynthetic Capacity Utilization Efficiency High Irradiance Peak Period 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Muller-Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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