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ecotypic differentiation in the marine diatom Skeletonema costatum: influence of light intensity on the photosynthetic apparatus
Gallagher, J.C.; Wood, A.M.; Alberte, R.S. (1984). ecotypic differentiation in the marine diatom Skeletonema costatum: influence of light intensity on the photosynthetic apparatus. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 82: 121-134
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Gallagher, J.C.
  • Wood, A.M.
  • Alberte, R.S.

    Three genetically distinct clones of Skeletonema costatum (Grev.) Cleve were grown at 20°C under high (274 µE m-2 s-1) and low (27 µE m-2 s-1) light conditions and their photoadaptive photosynthetic responses compared. When all three clones were grown under low light, pigment analyses and fluorescence excitation spectra demonstrated that the accessory pigments, chlorophyll c and fucoxanthin, became more important in light-harvesting compared to chlorophyll a. Photosynthetic unit sizes increased for Photosystems I and II in low light, but photosynthesis vs irradiance characteristics were not reliable predictors of photosynthetic unit features. Fluorescence excitation spectra and photosynthesis vs irradiance (P-I) relationships indicated that changes in energy transfer occurred independent of changes in pigment content. Large increases in accessory pigment content were not accompanied by large increases in excitation from these pigments. Changes in energy transfer properties were as important as changes in PSU size in governing the photoadaptive responses of S. costatum. When the three clones were grown under identical conditions, each had a separate and distinct pattern of photoadaptation. Significant differences among clones were found for pigment ratios, photosynthetic unit sizes for Photosystems I and II and efficiency of energy transfer between pigments. These strikingly different photoadaptive strategies among clones may partially account for the great ecological success of the diatom species. This is the first quantitative investigation of the importance of both chlorophyll c and fucoxanthin to the adaptive responses of diatoms to light intensity, and represents the most complete characterization of the photoadaptive responses of a single species of marine phytoplankter to differences in light environment.

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