Light Utilization and Optical Properties of Algae
In many aquatic systems, the capture of light energy is regarded as the primary factor controlling plant productivity. Measurements of the optical characteristics of algae are essential for estimating the efficiency of photosynthetic light utilization, interpreting the in vivo significance of quantitative and qualitative changes in light harvesting pigments, and for determining the role of algae in modifying the transmission and reflection of light by natural waters. Despite this importance, optical measurements are made infrequently, largely because of difficulties associated with partitioning attenuation into components of absorption and scattering. In particular, measuring light absorption is complicated when scattering (reflection, refraction, and diffraction) is the dominant process that contributes to light attenuation. However, techniques are available for determining the optical properties of unicellular and multicellular algae, and it is likely that further progress in areas such as remote sensing and aquatic productivity will proceed from a more complete understanding of the absorption and scattering properties of algal cells and tissues.
KeywordsRadiant Flux Action Spectrum Efficiency Factor Package Effect Light Utilization
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