AME 55:95-104 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01291

In vivo growth fluorometry: accuracy and limits of microalgal growth rate measurements in ecophysiological investigations

Lydia Gustavs*, Rhena Schumann, Anja Eggert, Ulf Karsten

University of Rostock, Department of Biological Sciences–Applied Ecology, Albert-Einstein-Straße 3, 18051 Rostock, Germany

ABSTRACT: In vivo growth fluorometry (Karsten et al. 1996) is based on the sensitive detection of in vivo chlorophyll a (chl a) fluorescence and monitors its increase over time as an indicator for growth. The method offers a simple, rapid, non-invasive, reproducible and calibration-free measurement of growth rates in unialgal cultures and facilitates multifactorial ecophysiological studies on algal cultures. The technical setup is well suited for use on benthic, adhering, filamentous and colony-forming microalgae. Low detection limits avoid self-shading and nutrient limitation during growth rate determination. Acclimated growth rates should be measured after a pre-incubation phase of 1 to 3 d. A broad data set correlating in vivo chl a fluorescence with cell number, organic carbon and chl a concentration in representative members of the Cyanobacteria, Rhodophyta, Chlorophyta and Bacillariophyceae is presented. A calibration of chl a fluorescence is not required for acclimated growth rate measurements of Bacillariophyceae and Chlorophyta but is recommended for high abundances of Cyanobacteria and Rhodophyta.


KEY WORDS: Growth rate · Chlorophyll a fluorescence · Adhering algae · Multifactorial ecophysiological studies


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Cite this article as: Gustavs L, Schumann R, Eggert A, Karsten U (2009) In vivo growth fluorometry: accuracy and limits of microalgal growth rate measurements in ecophysiological investigations. Aquat Microb Ecol 55:95-104. https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01291

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