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Microalgal classes and their signature pigments


Jeffrey, SW and Wright, SW and Zapata, M, Microalgal classes and their signature pigments, Phytoplankton Pigments: Characterization, Chemotaxonomy and Applications in Oceanography, Cambridge University Press, S Roy, C A. Llewellyn, ES Egeland and G Johnsen (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 3-77. ISBN 9780511732263 (2011) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2011 Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR)and Cambridge University Press

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DOI: doi:10.1017/CBO9780511732263.004


The microalgae that make up the extensive phytoplankton pastures of the world's oceans originated in ancient evolutionary times. They obtained their primitive ‘plastids’ from an unknown ancestral cyanobacterium with photosynthetic oxygen-evolving capabilities (Bhattacharya, 1997; Delwiche, 1999; McFadden, 2001; Palmer, 2003; Keeling, 2004a, b). Serial symbioses within heterotrophic hosts gave rise to the present wide diversity of photosynthetic microalgae, which evolved a range of photosynthetic pigments capable of collectively harvesting most of the wavelengths of light available to them in underwater marine habitats (Jeffrey and Wright, 2006). At the present time, the marine phytoplankton contribute at least a quarter of the biomass of the world's vegetation, and constitute the base of the food web that supports either directly or indirectly all the animal populations of the open sea. Some microalgae also contribute significantly to climatic processes, providing nuclei for atmospheric water condensation (Aiken et al., 1992). All microalgae, by their photosynthetic activities, contribute to atmospheric carbon dioxide ‘draw-down’ (Jeffrey and Mantoura, 1997), thus helping to ameliorate green-house gases, by removing nearly a third of the anthropogenic carbon released to the atmosphere (Sabine and Feely, 2007).

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Microalgal, pigments, phytoplankton
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Wright, SW (Dr Simon Wright)
ID Code:80684
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2012-11-07
Last Modified:2014-08-12
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