Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 7, pp 1667–1675 | Cite as

Rapid assessment of different oxygenic phototrophs and single-cell photosynthesis with multicolour variable chlorophyll fluorescence imaging

  • Erik Trampe
  • Jörg Kolbowski
  • Ulrich Schreiber
  • Michael KühlEmail author


We present a new system for microscopic multicolour variable chlorophyll fluorescence imaging of aquatic phototrophs. The system is compact and portable and enables microscopic imaging of photosynthetic performance of individual cells and chloroplasts using different combinations of blue, green, red or white light. Automated sequential exposure of microscopic samples to the three excitation colours enables subsequent deconvolution of the resulting fluorescence signals and colour marking of cells with different photopigmentation, i.e., cyanobacteria, green algae, red algae and diatoms. The photosynthetic activity in complex mixtures of phototrophs and natural samples can thus be assigned to different types of phototrophs, which can be quantified simultaneously. Here, we describe the composition and performance of the new imaging system and present applications with both natural phytoplankton and microalgal culture samples.


Fluorescence Yield Photosynthetic Performance Actinic Light Rapid Light Curf Rapid Light Curf 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by grants from the Danish Natural Science Research Council (MK) and the Carlsberg Foundation (MK). We acknowledge the assistance of Egil Nielsen for mechanical constructions and the staff at the Heron Island Research Station for technical assistance and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Trampe
    • 1
  • Jörg Kolbowski
    • 2
  • Ulrich Schreiber
    • 2
  • Michael Kühl
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Marine Biological Section, Department of BiologyUniversity of CopenhagenHelsingørDenmark
  2. 2.Julius-von-Sachs Institut für Biowissenschaften, Lehrstuhl Botanik IUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  3. 3.Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change ClusterUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimo SydneyAustralia

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