Photoprotection capacity differs among diatoms: Possible consequences on the spatial distribution of diatoms related to fluctuations in the underwater light climate

Lavaud, Johann, Robert F. Strzepek, Peter G. Kroth

Limnol. Oceanogr., 52(3), 2007, 1188-1194 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.3.1188

ABSTRACT: In this study, we show a fundamental difference between diatom species from different marine habitats in their ability to cope with changes in irradiance. Estuarine species show a higher and more flexible capacity for photoprotection than oceanic and coastal species, and when exposed to excess light, the impairment of their photosynthetic capacity because of photoinhibition was reduced. This resulted in maintenance of growth in a fluctuating light regime, conferring the estuarine species an adaptive advantage. The ability of diatoms, and to a larger extent other phytoplankton, to occupy a wide range of ecological niches depends critically on their capacity to exploit the differences in underwater light climate. These results might explain how diatoms adapt to the challenge of maintaining optimal photosynthetic production in turbulent waters, in which the rate of light change is high.

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