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Photophysiological expressions of iron stress in phytoplankton
Behrenfeld, M.J.; Milligan, A.J. (2013). Photophysiological expressions of iron stress in phytoplankton. Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci. 5: 217-246.
In: Annual Review of Marine Science. Annual Reviews: Palo Alto, Calif.. ISSN 1941-1405, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    fluorescence, photosynthesis, photosystems, nutrients, satellites

Authors  Top 
  • Behrenfeld, M.J.
  • Milligan, A.J.

    Iron is essential for all life, but it is particularly important to photoautotrophs because of the many iron-dependent electron transport components in photosynthetic membranes. Since the proliferation of oxygenic photosynthesis in the Archean ocean, iron has been a scarce commodity, and it is now recognized as a limiting resource for phytoplankton over broad expanses of the open ocean and even in some coastal/continental shelf waters. Iron stress does not impair photochemical or carbon fixation efficiencies, and in this respect it resembles the highly tuned photosynthetic systems of steady-state macronutrient-limited phytoplankton. However, iron stress does present unique photophysiological challenges, and phytoplankton have responded to these challenges through major architectural changes in photosynthetic membranes. These evolved responses include overexpression of photosynthetic pigments and iron-economic pathways for ATP synthesis, and they result in diagnostic fluorescence properties that allow a broad appraisal of iron stress in the field and even the detection of iron stress from space.

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