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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 300:53-62 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps300053

UV effects on photosynthesis, growth andacclimation of an estuarine diatom and cryptomonad

Elena Litchman1,2,3,*, Patrick J. Neale1

1Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, PO Box 28, Edgewater, Maryland 21037, USA
2School of Biology, 310 Ferst Drive, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA
3Present address: Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, Michigan 49060, USA

ABSTRACT: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a significant stressor in aquatic environments and can inhibit primary productivity of phytoplankton. The effects of UV depend on many factors, including phytoplankton community composition and acclimation status. Using spectrally resolved biological weighting functions (BWFs), we determined sensitivity of photosynthesis and acclimation to UV in a common estuarine diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana (Hustedt) Hasle et Heimdal, and cryptomonad, Cryptomonas sp. Cryptomonas sp. grown under high PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) (250 µmol quanta m–2 s–1) was significantly more sensitive to photoinhibition in the UV-B part of the spectrum (280 to 320 nm) than T. pseudonana under high PAR. Growth under low irradiance (25 µmol quanta m–2 s–1) increased sensitivity of T. pseudonana. After a week-long exposure to moderate UV radiation, sensitivity of Cryptomonas sp. declined, while sensitivity of T. pseudonana did not change. Growth rates and chlorophyll a-specific absorption decreased in both species. Based on the BWFs obtained in this study, we predict 11 to 26% UV inhibition of depth-integrated primary production by these species under summer conditions in a shallow, turbid temperate estuary.

KEY WORDS: Estuarine phytoplankton · UV radiation · Photosynthesis · Photoinhibition · Biological weighting functions · Acclimation · Thalassiosira pseudonana · Cryptomonas sp.

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