This study is the first in situ work comparing rapid light curves (RLC) and non-sequential steady-state light curves (N-SSLC) in their efficiency to characterize phytoplankton photosynthetic activity and acclimation status. Measurements were carried out at two time scales (daily and annual) using the Pulse Amplitude Modulated fluorometry on samples taken in the coastal waters of a macrotidal ecosystem (the Strait of Dover, eastern English Channel). RLC and N-SSLC were compared under a wide range of environmental conditions and phytoplankton composition in order to define the best methodology to accurately capture short and long-term adjustments in the functioning of the photosynthetic apparatus. The relationships between the photosynthetic parameters extracted from RLC and N-SSLC were also studied to evaluate the possibility to use RLC to predict N-SSLC photosynthetic parameters and thus obtaining the acclimation status at steady state. At daily scale, the maximum electron transport rate and light saturation coefficient resulting from RLC (respectively, ETRm_RLC and E k_RLC) were found to follow more closely short-term environmental light variations than ETRm and E k resulting from N-SSLC (ETRm_N-SSLC and E k_N-SSLC) did. RLC were thus able to detect rapid changes in photosynthetic activity that would have been overlooked with N-SSLC measurements. At annual scale, few differences were found between RLC and N-SSLC. Variations of ETRm and α derived from RLC and N-SSLC were very similar but absolute values were lower for RLC measurements. Because, at daily scale, RLC better capture the short-term changes in photosynthetic activity than N-SSLC do, using RLC to predict N-SSLC photosynthetic parameters and getting information about steady-state acclimation status is not possible at this time scale. However, this can be done at seasonal scale.
Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 2, 2017
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