The production parameters of the deep-water periphyton were investigated on the Macclesfield Bank (South China Sea) at depths down to 240 m. At 70–90 m depths the substrate is composed of the remains of dead corals and fragments of porous calcareous material overgrown with red coralline and articulated thalline algae Halimeda sp. At 220–240 m depths the substrate consists of rhodolites, which are individual unattached nodules encrusted mainly with red calcareous coralline algae Lithophyllum sp., Porolithon sp. and red lamellar alga Hypoglossum sp. At all depths the substrate is pierced with green filiform algae Ostreobium sp. and covered with benthic diatom algae. The zooperiphyton in the studied area is comprised of bryozoans, sponges, foraminifers and drilling mollusks. Respiration (R) and the gross (Pg) and net (Pn) primary production of the deepwater periphyton community were determined using the oxygen technique (polarographic electrode) at values of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) close to natural levels. At 70–90 m depths the Pg of the photoperiphyton was 23.3 mg O2/(m2 h), and the Pn of the community had negative values due to respiration of phytoand mainly zooperiphyton and bacteria. At 220–240 m depths, where less than 0.001% of the surface PAR penetrates, the Pg of the phytoperiphyton decreased to 9.6 mg O2/(m2 h), and the R of the community was 25.9 mg O2/(m2 h). A high efficiency of light energy utilization by the phytoperiphyton was found. The apparent quantum yield (Fa) for algae collected at 70–90 m depths was close to the maximum level of 0.097. The values of Fn that we obtained for 220–240 m depths and calculated from identical data , were much higher than theoretical values, which cannot be explained based on modern views on the mechanisms of photosynthesis. Possible sources of errors are discussed. It is proposed that we observed additional evolution of oxygen as the result of H2O2 degradation.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 8, 2008
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