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Time-course of photoadaptation in the photosynthesis-irradiance relationship of a dinoflagellate exhibiting photosynthetic periodicity

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Cultures of the marine dinoflagellate Glenodinium sp. were light-shifted and rates of photoadaptation determined by monitoring changes in cell volume, growth rate, pigmentation, parameters of the photosynthesisirradiance (P-I) curves and respiration. To approximate physiological conditions of field populations, cells were cultured on an alternating light-dark cycle of 12hL:12hD, which introduced a daily periodicity of photosynthesis. One result of the present study was to demonstrate how specific parameters of the P-I relationship influenced by periodicity of the light: dark cycle are distinguished from photosynthetic parameters influenced by changes in light level. Under steady-state conditions, rates of both light-saturated (Pmax) and light-limited photosynthesis changed in unison over the day; these changes were not related to pigmentation, and displayed their maxima midday. This close relationship between Pmax and the slope (a) of the cellular P-I curves in steadystate conditions was quickly adjusted when growth illumination was altered. Rates of light-limited photosynthesis were increased under low light conditions and the periodicity of cellular photosynthesis was maintained. The short-term responses of the P-I relationship to changing light level was different, depending on (1) whether the light shift was from high to low light or vice versa, and (2) whether the high light levels were sufficient to promote maximal photosynthesis rates. Major increases in the photosynthetic carotenoid peridinin, associated with a single type of light-harvesting chromo protein in the chloroplast, was observed immediately upon shifting high light cultures to low light conditions. Following pigment synthesis, significant increases in rates of light-limited photosynthesis were observed in about one-tenth the generation time, while cellular photosynthetic potential was unaffected. it is suggested that general results were consistent with suggested that general results were consistent with earlier reports that the major photoadaptive “strategy” of Glenodinium sp. is to alter photosynthetic unit (PSU) size. Photoadaptive response times to high light were light-dependent, but appeared to be shower than photoadaptive responses to low light. If light intensities were bright enough to maximize growth rates, photosynthetic response times were on the order of a generation period and pigmentation fell quickly as cells divided at a faster rate. If light-intensities were not sufficient to maximize growth rates, then pigment content did not decline, while rates of light-limited photosynthesis declined quickly. In all cases, photoadaptation was followed best by monitoring fast changes in half saturation constants for photosynthesis, rather than fluctuating changes in pigmentation. Results compared well with time-course phenomena reported for other groups of phytoplankton. Overall, results suggest phytoplankton can bring about photo-induced changes in photosynthesis very quickly and thus accommodate widely fluctuating light regimes over short periods of time.

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Communicated by R. O. Fournier, Halifax

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Prézelin, B.B., Matlick, H.A. Time-course of photoadaptation in the photosynthesis-irradiance relationship of a dinoflagellate exhibiting photosynthetic periodicity. Mar. Biol. 58, 85–96 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00396119

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  • Phytoplankton
  • Photosynthesis
  • Carotenoid
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Maximize Growth Rate