Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 299–311 | Cite as

Effects of diurnal variations in phytoplankton photosynthesis obtained from natural fluorescence

  • Takashi Yoshikawa
  • Ken FuruyaEmail author
Research Article


Effects of diurnal variation in phytoplankton photosynthesis on estimating daily primary production (DPP) were examined using field data from Sagami Bay, Japan. DPP at 5 m depth was calculated from the continuous data of chlorophyll a (Chl a) and light intensity monitored by a natural fluorescence sensor with and without considering time-dependent changes in the photosynthesis–irradiance (P–E) relationship. Chl a could be estimated from natural fluorescence examining the variations in the quantum yield of fluorescence (φf) and Chl a-specific light absorption coefficient (a*ph), and relating them to Chl a. The P–E relationship was determined by water sampling three times daily. A distinct diurnal pattern was observed for the maximum photosynthetic rate (P*max), being maximal at noon, while periodicity of the maximum light utilization coefficient (α*) was less obvious. The actual DPP was calculated by interpolating the P–E parameters from those obtained at dawn, noon, and dusk. For comparison, DPP was calculated by fixing the P–E parameters as the constants measured at dawn, noon or dusk for a day. The difference from the actual DPP was small when the P–E parameters measured at dawn (3% on average) and noon (5%) were used as the constants for a day. The difference was largest when the values at dusk were used (−43%). The medium values of P*max at dawn, its low values at dusk, and the fact that a major part of the DPP was produced around noon were responsible for these results. The present study demonstrates that measurement of the P–E parameters at dawn or noon can give a good estimation of DPP from natural fluorescence.


Phytoplankton Particulate Organic Carbon Nonphotochemical Quenching Phytoplankton Assemblage Photosynthetically Available Radiation 
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 are grateful to the scientists and crew members of the R/V Tansei-Maru cruises for their cooperation at sea, and to Z. Suzuki and S. Saitoh for data on the light absorption spectrum of phytoplankton. We are also grateful to A. Hinuma, C. Sukigara, Y. Mino, and T. Saino for their generous cooperation with the mass spectrometry. Financial research support was provided by Creative Basic Research Funds (#12NP0201) and the Project on Ocean Productivity Profiling System, Core Research for Evolutionary Science and Technology. T. Y. acknowledges financial support from Asian Natural Environmental Science Center of the University of Tokyo.


  1. Babin M, Morel A, Claustre H, Bricaud A, Kolber Z, Falkowski PG (1996) Nitrogen- and irradiance-dependent variations of the maximum quantum yield of carbon fixation in eutrophic, mesotrophic and oligotrophic marine systems. Deep-Sea Res I 43:1241–1272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Babin M, Morel A, Gagnon R (1994) An incubator designed for extensive and sensitive measurements of phytoplankton photosynthetic parameters. Limnol Oceanogr 39:694–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Behrenfeld MJ, Falkowski PG (1997) Photosynthetic rates derived from satellite-based chlorophyll concentration. Limnol Oceanogr 42:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behrenfeld MJ, Prasil O, Babin M, Bruyant F (2004) In search of a physiological basis for covariations in light-limited and light-saturated photosynthesis. J Phycol 40:4–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bricaud A, Babin M, Morel A, Claustre H (1995) Variability in the chlorophyll-specific absorption coefficients of natural phytoplankton: analysis and parameterization. J Geophys Res 100C:13321–313332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chamberlin WS, Booth CR, Kiefer DA, Morrow JH, Murphy RC (1990) Evidence for a simple relationship between natural fluorescence, photosynthesis and chlorophyll in the sea. Deep-Sea Res 37:951–973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cleveland JS, Weidemann AD (1993) Quantifying absorption by aquatic particles: a multiple scattering correlation for grass-fiber filters. Limnol Oceanogr 38:1321–1327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Collins DJ, Kiefer DA, SooHoo JB, McDermid IS (1985) The role of re-absorption in the spectral distribution of phytoplankton fluorescence emission. Deep-Sea Res 32:983–1103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dandonneau Y, Neveux J (1997) Diel variations of in vivo fluorescence in the eastern equatorial Pacific: an unvarying pattern. Deep-Sea Res II 44:1869–1880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Doty MS, Oguri M (1957) Evidence for a photosynthetic daily periodicity. Limnol Oceanogr 2:37–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fee EJ (1975) The importance of diurnal variation of photosynthesis vs. light curves to estimates of integral daily production. Verh Int Verein Theor Angew Limnol 19:39–46Google Scholar
  12. Hama T, Miyazaki Y, Ogawa Y, Iwakuma T, Takahashi M Otsuki A, Ichimura S (1983) Measurement of photosynthetic production of a marine phytoplankton population using a stable 13C isotope. Mar Biol 73:31–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harding LW Jr, Meeson BW, Prézelin BB, Sweeney BM (1981) Diel periodicity of photosynthesis in marine phytoplankton. Mar Biol 61:95–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harding LW Jr, Prézelin BB, Sweeney BM, Cox JL (1982a) Diel oscillations of the photosynthesis–irradiance (P–I) relationship in natural assemblages of phytoplankton. Mar Biol 67:167–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harding LW Jr, Prézelin BB, Sweeney BM, Cox JL (1982b) Primary production as influenced by diel periodicity of phytoplankton photosynthesis. Mar Biol 67:179–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hastings JW, Astrachan L, Sweeney BM (1961) A persistent daily rhythm in photosynthesis. J Gen Physiol 45:69–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Henley WJ, Levavasseur G, Franklin LA, Lindley ST, Rasmus J, Osmund CB (1991) Diurnal responses of photosynthesis and fluorescence in Ulva rotundata acclimated to sun and shade in outdoor culture. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 75:19–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kiefer DA, Chamberlin WS, Booth CR (1989) Natural fluorescence of chlorophyll a: relationship to photosynthesis and chlorophyll concentration in the South Pacific gyre. Limnol Oceanogr 34:868–881CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kishino M, Takahashi M, Okami N, Ichimura S (1985) Estimation of the spectral absorption coefficients of phytoplankton in the sea. Bull Mar Sci 37:634–642Google Scholar
  20. Kolber Z, Falkowski PG (1993) Use of active fluorescence to estimate phytoplankton photosynthesis in situ. Limnol Oceanogr 38:1646–1665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MacCaull WA, Platt T (1977) Diel variations in the photosynthetic parameters of coastal marine phytoplankton. Limnol Oceanogr 22:723–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Maritorena SA, Morel A, Gentili B (2000) Determination of the fluorescence quantum yield by oceanic phytoplankton in their natural habitat. Appl Opt 39:6725–6737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mishkind M, Mauzerall D, Beale SI (1979) Diurnal variations in situ of photosynthetic capacity in Ulva caused by a dark reaction. Plant Physiol 64:896–899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mitchell BG (1990) Algorithms for determining the absorption coefficient of aquatic particulates using the quantitative filter technique (QFT). Ocean Optics X 1302:137–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moline MA, Prézelin BB (1997) High-resolution time series data for 1991/1992 primary production and related parameters at a Palmer LTER coastal site: implications for modeling carbon fixation in the Southern Ocean. Polar Biol 17:39–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morel A, André JM (1991) Pigment distribution and primary production in the Western Mediterranean as derived and modeled from Coastal Zone Color Scaner observations. J Geophys Res 96:12685–12698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Morel A, Prieur (1977) Analysis of variations in ocean color. Limnol Oceanogr 22:709–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morrison JR (2003) In situ determination of the quantum yield of phytoplankton chlorophyll a fluorescence: a simple algorithm, observations, and a model. Limnol Oceanogr 48:618–631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Platt T, Sathendranath S (1988) Oceanic primary production: estimation by remote sensing at local and regional scales. Science 241:1613–1620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Platt T, Gallegos CL, Harrison WG (1980) Photoinhibition of photosynthesis in natural assemblage of marine phytoplankton. J Mar Res 38:687–701Google Scholar
  31. Prézelin BB (1992) Diel periodicity in phytoplankton productivity. Hydrobiologia 238:1–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Putt M, Prézelin BB (1985) Observations of diel patterns of photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and nanoplankton in the Santa Barbara Channel during “el Niño”. J Plankton Res 7:779–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ryther JH, Yentch CS (1957) The estimation of phytoplankton production in the ocean from chlorophyll and light data. Limnol Oceanogr 2:281–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schreiber U, Schliwa U, Bilger W (1986) Continuous recording of photochemical and non-photochemical chlorophyll fluorescence quenching with a new type of modulation fluorometer. Photosynth Res 10:51–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sournia A (1974) Circadian periodicities in natural populations of marine phytoplankton. Adv Mar Biol 12:325–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Suzuki R, Ishimaru T (1990) An improved method for the determination of phytoplankon chlorophyll using N, N-dimethylformamide. J Oceanogr 46:190–194Google Scholar
  37. Talling JF (1957) Photosynthetic characteristics of some freshwater phytoplankton diatoms in relation to undaerwater radiation. New Phytol 56:29–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vandevelde T, Legendre L, Demers S, Therriault JC (1989) Circadian variations in photosynthetic assimilation and estimation of daily phytoplankton production. Mar Biol 100:525–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yoshikawa T, Furuya K (2004) Long-term monitoring of primary production in coastal waters by improved natural fluorescence method. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 273:17–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Aquatic Bioscience, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoBunkyo, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries, Faculty of AgricultureKinki UniversityNaraJapan

Personalised recommendations