Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 5, pp 963–971 | Cite as

Photoacclimation in phytoplankton: implications for biomass estimates, pigment functionality and chemotaxonomy

  • F. Rodríguez
  • M. Chauton
  • G. JohnsenEmail author
  • K. Andresen
  • L.M. Olsen
  • M. Zapata
Research Article


Chl a and C-normalized pigment ratios were studied in two dinophytes (Prorocentrum minimum and Karlodinium micrum), three haptophytes (Chrysochromulina leadbeateri, Prymnesium parvum cf. patelliferum, Phaeocystis globosa), two prasinophytes (Pseudoscourfieldia marina, Bathycoccus prasinos) and the raphidophyte Heterosigma akashiwo, in low (LL, 35 μmol photons m−2 s−1) and high light (HL, 500 μmol photons m−2 s−1). Pigment ratios in LL and HL were compared against a general rule of photoacclimation: LL versus HL ratios ≥1 are typical for light-harvesting pigments (LHP) and <1 for photoprotective carotenoids. Peridinin, prasinoxanthin, gyroxanthin-diester and 19′-butanoyloxy-fucoxanthin were stable chemotaxonomic markers with less than 25% variation between LL versus HL Chl a–normalized ratios. As expected, Chls exhibited LL/HL to Chl a ratios >1 with some exceptions such as Chl c3 in P. globosa and MV Chl c3 in C. leadbeateri. LL/HL to Chl a ratios of photosynthetic carotenoids were close to 1, except Hex-fuco in P. globosa (four-fold higher Chl a ratio in HL vs LL). Although pigment ratios in P. globosa clearly responded to the light conditions the diadinoxanthin-diatoxanthin cycle remained almost unaltered at HL. Total averaged pigment and LHP to C ratios were significantly higher in LL versus HL, reflecting the photoacclimation status of the studied species. By contrast, the same Chl a-normalized ratios were weakly affected by the light intensity due to co-variation with Chl a. Based on our data, we suggest that the interpretation of PPC and LHP are highly dependent on biomass normalization (Chl a vs. C).


Carotenoid Particulate Organic Carbon Fucoxanthin Peridinin Emiliania Huxleyi 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr W. Eikrem for providing cultures of B. prasinos, C. leadbeateri and H. akashiwo. This work has been supported by the HP (Human Potential) Programme from the European Union through contract N° HPRI-1999-CT-00060.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Rodríguez
    • 1
  • M. Chauton
    • 2
  • G. Johnsen
    • 2
    Email author
  • K. Andresen
    • 2
  • L.M. Olsen
    • 2
  • M. Zapata
    • 3
  1. 1.Centro Oceanográfico de CanariasS/C TenerifeSpain
  2. 2. Department of BiologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Centro de Investigacións Mariñas Xunta de GaliciaVilanova de ArousaSpain

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