MEPS 588:29-42 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12456

Modulation of the light field related to valve optical properties of raphid diatoms: implications for niche differentiation in the microphytobenthos

Johannes W. Goessling1,*, Silja Frankenbach2, Lourenço Ribeiro3,4, João Serôdio2, Michael Kühl1,5

1Marine Biological Section, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Strandpromenaden 5, 3000 Helsingør, Denmark
2Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM), Departamento de Biologia, Universidade de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
3Centro de Ciências do Mar e Ambiente (MARE), Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
4Université de Nantes, Mer-Molécules-Santé EA 2160, Faculté des Sciences et des Techniques, 2, Rue de la Houssinière, BP 92 208, 44322 Nantes, France
5Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Differences in the spectral light absorption of photopigments allow for niche differentiation and coexistence of cyanobacteria and diatoms. Evolution in the microphytobenthos could have further been shaped by the photonic crystal-like structures in the frustule of diatoms interacting with sunlight. We studied the optical properties in water of the valves of 3 pennate diatom species collected from an intertidal estuarine mudflat. We observed forward scattering of blue light in the valve, while the angle of incident white light at which this phenomenon was visible differed between the 3 tested raphid species. A slurry of oxidized frustules enhanced scalar irradiance in the blue spectral range by up to 120% compared to downwelling irradiance. Blue light induced higher relative electron transport rates at photosystem II and non-photochemical quenching compared to red actinic light. We hypothesize that structures in the pennate diatom frustule modulate microalgal light absorption for efficient photosynthesis and thereby contribute to niche differentiation of diatoms in the microphytobenthos.


KEY WORDS: Biological photonic structures · Epipelic diatoms · Photopigments · Chlorophyll fluorescence · Intertidal mudflats · Sediment light attenuation


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Cite this article as: Goessling JW, Frankenbach S, Ribeiro L, Serôdio J, Kühl M (2018) Modulation of the light field related to valve optical properties of raphid diatoms: implications for niche differentiation in the microphytobenthos. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 588:29-42. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12456

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