Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 95–106 | Cite as

Acclimation of the diatom Stephanodiscus neoastraea and the cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii to simulated natural light fluctuations

  • Susanne FietzEmail author
  • Andreas Nicklisch


Functional and structural characteristics of the photosynthetic apparatus were studied in the diatom Stephanodiscus neoastraea and the cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii which were grown semi-continuously under constant irradiance or under simulated natural light fluctuations. The light fluctuations consisted of 24 oscillations of exponentially increasing and decreasing irradiance over a 12-h light period. Maximum irradiance was 1100 μmol photons m−2 s−1 with the ratio of maximum to minimum intensities being 100, simulating Langmuir circulations with a ratio of euphotic to mixing depth of 1. S. neoastraea acclimated to the light fluctuations by doubling the number and halving the size of photosynthetic units (PS II) while the amount of chlorophylls and carotenoids remained unchanged. The chlorophyll-specific maximum photosynthetic rate was enhanced while the slope of the photosynthesis versus irradiance curves was not influenced by the light fluctuations. Acclimation of P. agardhii was mainly characterized by an increase in chlorophyll content. Both photosystems showed only little changes in number and size. Maximum photosynthetic rate, saturating irradiance and initial slope of the photosynthesis versus irradiance curves did not vary. Although both high and low light were contained in the fluctuating light, an analogy to low or high light acclimation was not found for the diatom nor for the cyanobacterium acclimated to light fluctuations. We suggest that the acclimation to fluctuating light is a response type outside the known scheme of low and high light acclimation.

chlorophyll a light fluctuations photosynthesis photosystem Planktothrix Stephanodiscus 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson JM, Chow WS and Park Y-I (1995) The grand design of photosynthesis: acclimation of the photosynthetic apparatus to environmental cues. Photosynth Res 46: 129-139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boichenko VA (1998) Action spectra and functional antenna sizes of Photosystem I and II in relation to the thylakoid membrane organization and pigment composition. Photosynth Res 58: 163-174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buschmann C and Grumbach K (1985) Physiologie der Photosynthese, Springer-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  4. Cosper E (1982) Effects of diurnal fluctuations in light intensity on the efficiency of growth of Skeletonema costatum (Grev.) Cleve (Bacillariophyceae) in a cyclostat. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 65: 229-239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cunningham FX, Dennenberg RJ, Mustardy L, Jursinic PA and Gantt E (1989) Stoichiometry of Photosystem I, Photosystem II, and phycobilisomes in the red alga Porphyridium cruentum as a function of growth irradiance. Plant Physiol 91: 1179-1187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dubinsky Z (1992) The functional and optical absorption crosssections of phytoplankton photosynthesis. In: Falkowski PG and Woodhead AD (eds) Primary Productivity and Biogeochemical Cycles in the Sea, pp 31-45. Plenum Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Dubinsky Z, Falkowski PG and Wyman K (1986) Light harvesting and utilization by phytoplankton. Plant Cell Physiol 27: 1335-1349Google Scholar
  8. Falkowski PG (1983) Light-shade adaptation and vertical mixing of marine phytoplankton: A comparative field study. J Mar Res 41: 215-237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Falkowski PG and Owens TG (1980) Light-shade adaptation. Plant Physiology 66: 592-595PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Falkowski PG, Owens TG, Ley AC and Mauzerall DC (1981) Effects of growth irradiance levels on the ratio of reaction centres in two species of marine phytoplankton. Plant Physiol 68: 969-973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Flameling IA and Kromkamp J (1997) Photoacclimation of Scenedesmus protuberans (Chlorophyceae) to fluctuating irradiances simulating vertical mixing. J Plankton Res 19: 1011-1024Google Scholar
  12. Foy RH and Gibson CE (1982) Photosynthetic characteristics of the planktonic blue-green algae: the response of twenty strains grown under high and low light. Br Phycol J 17: 169-182Google Scholar
  13. Friedman AL and Alberte RS (1986) Biogenesis and light regulation of the major light harvesting chlorophyll-protein of diatoms. Plant Physiol 80: 43-51PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fujita Y (1997) A study on the dynamic features of the photosystem stoichiometry: accomplishments and problems for future studies. Photosynth Res 53: 83-93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fujita Y, Ohki K and Murakami A (1985) Chromatic regulation of photosystem composition in the photosynthetic system of red and blue-green algae. Plant Cell Physiol 26: 1541-1548Google Scholar
  16. Gibson CE (1987) Adaptation in Oscillatoria redekei at very slow growth rates-changes in growth efficiency and phycobilin complement. Br Phycol J 22: 187-191Google Scholar
  17. Harris GP (1978) Photosynthesis, productivity and growth: the physiological ecology of phytoplankton. Arch Hydrobiol Beih Ergebn Limnol 10: 1-171Google Scholar
  18. Harris GP and Piccinin BB (1977) Photosynthesis by natural phytoplankton populations. Arch Hydrobiol 80: 405-457Google Scholar
  19. Hiyama T and Ke B (1972) Difference spectra and extinction coefficients of P700. Biochim Biophys Acta 267: 160-171PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ibelings BW, Kroon MA and Mur LR (1994) Acclimation of Photosystem II in a cyanobacterium and a eukaryotic green alga to high and fluctuating photosynthetic photon flux densities, simulating light regimes induced by mixing in lakes. New Phytol 128: 407-424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jeffrey SW and Humphrey GF (1975) New spectrophotometric equations for determining chlorophylls a, b, c 1 and c 2 in higher plants, algae and natural phytoplankton. Biochim Physiol Planzen 167: 191-194Google Scholar
  22. Jørgensen EG (1969) The adaptation of plankton algae IV. Light adaptation in different algal species. Physiol Plant 22: 1307-1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jørgensen EG (1977) Photosynthesis. In: Werner D (ed) The Biology of Diatoms, pp 150-169. Botanical Monographs 13. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford.Google Scholar
  24. Kawamura M, Mimuro M and Fujita Y (1979) Quantitative relationship between two reaction centres in the photosynthetic system of blue-green algae. Plant Cell Physiol 20: 697-705Google Scholar
  25. Kiefer DA and Mitchell BG (1983) A simple steady state description of phytoplankton growth based on absorption cross-section and quantum efficiency. Limnol Oceanogr 28: 770-776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kirk J (1975) A theoretical contribution of algal cells within natural waters. New Phytol 75: 11-36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kohl J-G and Nicklisch A (1988) Ökophysiologie der Algen. Akademie-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  28. Kromkamp J and Limbeek M (1993) Effect of short-term variation in irradiance on light harvesting and photosynthesis of the marine diatom Skeletonema costatum: a laboratory study simulating vertical mixing. J Gen Microbiol 139: 2277-2284Google Scholar
  29. Langmuir I (1938) Surface motion of water induced by the wind. Science 87: 119-123PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Ley AC and Mauzerall DC (1982) Absolute absorption crosssections for Photosystem II and the minimum quantum requirement for photosynthesis in Chlorella vulgaris. Biochim Biophys Acta 680: 95-106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Litchman E (2000) Growth rates of phytoplankton under fluctuating light. Freshwater Biol 44: 223-235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Major KM and Dunton KH (2000) Photosynthetic performance in Syringodium filiforme: seasonal variation in light-harvesting characteristics. Aquatic Bot 68: 249-264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marra J (1978) Effect of short-term variations in intensity on photosynthesis of a marine phytoplankter: a laboratory simulation study. Mar Biol 46: 191-202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Melis A (1989) Spectroscopic methods in photosynthesis: photosystem stoichiometry and chlorophyll antenna size. Phil Trans R Soc London Ser B 232: 397-409Google Scholar
  35. Melis A and Harvey GW (1981) Regulation of photosystem stoichiometry, chlorophyll a and chlorophyll b content and relation to chloroplast ultrastructure. Biochim Biophys Acta 637: 138-145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Millie DF, Ingram DA and Dionigi CP (1990) Pigment and photosynthetic responses of Oscillatoria agardhii (Cyanophyta) to photon flux density and spectral quality. J Phycol 26: 660-666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nicklisch A (1998) Growth and light absorption of some planktonic cyanobacteria, diatoms and chlorophyceae under simulated natural light fluctuations. J Plankton Res 20: 105-119Google Scholar
  38. Nicklisch A and Fietz S (2001) The influence of simulated natural light fluctuations on growth and photosynthesis of Stephanodiscus neoastraea (diatoms) and Planktothrix agardhii (cyanobacteria). Arch Hydrobiol 151: 141-156Google Scholar
  39. Nicklisch A and Woitke P (1999) Pigment content of selected planktonic algae in response to simulated natural light fluctuations and a short photoperiod. Int Rev Hydrobiol 84: 479-495Google Scholar
  40. Perry MJ, Talbot MC, Alberte RS (1981) Photoadaption in marine phytoplankton: Response of the photosynthetic unit. Marine Biol 62: 91-101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pollard RT (1977) Observations and theories of Langmuir circulations and their role in near surface mixing. Deep-Sea Res 24: 235Google Scholar
  42. Raps S, Kycia JH, Ledbetter, MC and Siegelman HW (1985) Light intensity adaptation and phycobilisome composition of Microcystis aeruginosa. Plant Physiol 79: 983-987PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Reynolds CS (1984), The Ecology of Freshwater Phytoplankton. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  44. Rücker J, Kohl J-G, Kaiser K (1995) Responses of carotenoids and chlorophylls to variations of growth-limiting factors in three filamentous blue-green algae. Arch Hydrobiol Algol Stud 77: 51-65Google Scholar
  45. Senge M and Senger H (1990) Functional changes in the photosynthetic apparatus during light adaptation of the green alga Chlorella fusca. J Photochem Photobiol B: Biol 8: 63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith EL (1936) Photosynthesis in relation to light and carbon dioxide. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 22: 504-511PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith BM and Melis A (1988) Photochemical apparatus organization in the diatom cylindrotheca fusiformis: photosystem stoichiometry and excitation distribution in cells grown under high and low irradiance. Plant Cell Physiol 29: 761-76971Google Scholar
  48. Sommer U, Gliwicz ZM, Lampert W and Duncan A (1986) The PEG-Model of seasonal succession of planktonic events in fresh waters. Arch Hydrobiol 106: 433-471Google Scholar
  49. Vierling E and Alberte R (1980) Functional organization and plasticity of the photosynthetic unit of the cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans. Physiol Plant 50: 93-98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Visser PM (1995) Growth and vertical movement of the cyanobacterium Microcystis in stable and artificially mixed water columns. PhD thesis, University of AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  51. Woitke P, Martin C-D, Nicklisch S and Kohl J-G (1994) HPLC determination of lipophilic photosynthetic pigments in algal cultures and lake water samples using a non-endcapped C18-RPcolumn. Fresenius J Anal Chem 348: 762-768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yin Z-H and Johnson GN (2000) Photosynthetic acclimation of higher plants to growth in fluctuating light environments. Photosynth Res 63: 97-107PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BiologyHumboldt University BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations