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MEPS 495:65-76 (2014)  -  DOI:

Reduction in photosystem II efficiency during a virus-controlled Emiliania huxleyi bloom

Susan A. Kimmance1,*, Michael J. Allen1, António Pagarete1,2,3, Joaquín Martínez Martínez4, William H. Wilson1,4

1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
2UPMC Univ. Paris 06, UMR 7144, Equipe EPPO: Evolution du Plancton et PaléoOcéans, Station Biologique de Roscoff,
29682 Roscoff, France
3Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Norway
4Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, 60 Bigelow Drive, PO Box 380, East Boothbay, Maine 04544, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: During viral infection of Emiliania huxleyi, laboratory studies have shown that photosystem (PS) II efficiency declines during the days post-infection and is thought to be associated with viral-induced interruption of electron transport rates between photosystems. However, measuring the impact of viral infection on PSII function in E. huxleyi populations from natural, taxonomically diverse phytoplankton communities is difficult, and whether this phenomenon occurs in nature is presently unknown. Here, chlorophyll fluorescence analysis was used to assess changes in PSII efficiency throughout an E. huxleyi bloom during a mesocosm experiment off the coast of Norway. Specifically, we aimed to determine whether a measurable suppression of the efficiency of PSII photochemistry could be observed due to viral infection of the natural E. huxleyi populations. During the major infection period prior to bloom collapse, there was a significant reduction in PSII efficiency with an average decrease in maximum PSII photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) of 17% and a corresponding 75% increase in maximum PSII effective absorption cross-section (σPSII); this was concurrent with a significant decrease in E. huxleyi growth rates and an increase in E. huxleyi virus (EhV) production. As E. huxleyi populations dominated the phytoplankton community and potentially contributed up to 100% of the chlorophyll a pool, we believe that the variable chlorophyll fluorescence signal measured during this period was derived predominantly from E. huxleyi and, thus, reflects changes occurring within E. huxleyi cells. This is the first demonstration of suppression of PSII photochemistry occurring during viral infection of natural coccolithophore populations.

KEY WORDS: Viral infection · Emiliania huxleyi bloom · Chlorophyll fluorescence · Photosystem II efficiency · Mesocosm

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Cite this article as: Kimmance SA, Allen MJ, Pagarete A, Martínez Martínez J, Wilson WH (2014) Reduction in photosystem II efficiency during a virus-controlled Emiliania huxleyi bloom. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 495:65-76.

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