Responses of Unicellular Marine Plants to Natural Blue-Green Light Environments

  • S. W. Jeffrey
Conference paper
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)

Abstract

A blue-green filter covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, and the light transmitted through it has been supporting one quarter of the world’s plant productivity for millions of years. This filter is the world’s oceans, and the plants responsible are the microscopic unicellular marine algae which range in size from 1 to 200 µm, and represent some thousands of species from many algal Divisions. Although there is much current interest in blue light mechanisms of terrestrial plants and micro-organisms, little attention has been paid to this giant blue light experiment. These marine plants are adapted to their specialized environment by possessing a variety of pigment systems capable of efficiently harvesting blue-green light. This paper briefly describes the light environment, the plants and the pigments found in the open ocean. In addition, the question was posed whether blue-green radiation, as well as being used for energy transduction, exerts any specific photo-control of the photosynthetic apparatus. This paper shows that low intensity blue-green light regulates the chloroplast systems of some groups by increasing the total amount of pigments, the number of thylakoid bands, the paracrystalline structure of the pyrenoid and the photosynthetic capacity. Changes in pigment ratios were not significant except in the biliprotein-containing species.

Keywords

Chlorophyll Phytoplankton Photosynthesis Carotenoid Lutein 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. W. Jeffrey
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Marine LaboratoriesHobartAustralia

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