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Response of phytoplankton Photophysiology to varying environmental conditions in the Sub-Antarctic and Polar Frontal Zone


Cheah, W and McMinn, A and Griffiths, FB and Westwood, KJ and Wright, SW and Clementson, LA, Response of phytoplankton Photophysiology to varying environmental conditions in the Sub-Antarctic and Polar Frontal Zone, PLoS One, 8, (8) Article e72165. ISSN 1932-6203 (2013) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Cheah et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072165


Climate-driven changes are expected to alter the hydrography of the Sub-Antarctic Zone (SAZ) and Polar Frontal Zone (PFZ) south of Australia, in which distinct regional environments are believed to be responsible for the differences in phytoplankton biomass in these regions. Here, we report how the dynamic influences of light, iron and temperature, which are responsible for the photophysiological differences between phytoplankton in the SAZ and PFZ, contribute to the biomass differences in these regions. High effective photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (F 0 q/F 0 mw0.4), maximum photosynthesis rate (PB max), light-saturation intensity (Ek), maximum rate of photosynthetic electron transport (1/tPSII), and low photoprotective pigment concentrations observed in the SAZ correspond to high chlorophyll a and iron concentrations. In contrast, phytoplankton in the PFZ exhibits low F 0 q/F 0 m (* 0.2) and high concentrations of photoprotective pigments under low light environment. Strong negative relationships between iron, temperature, and photoprotective pigments demonstrate that cells were producing more photoprotective pigments under low temperature and iron conditions, and are responsible for the low biomass and low productivity measured in the PFZ. As warming and enhanced iron input is expected in this region, this could probably increase phytoplankton photosynthesis in this region. However, complex interactions between the biogeochemical processes (e.g. stratification caused by warming could prevent mixing of nutrients), which control phytoplankton biomass and productivity, remain uncertain.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:phytoplankton photophysiology Sub-Antarctic
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Cheah, W (Mr Wee Cheah)
UTAS Author:McMinn, A (Professor Andrew McMinn)
UTAS Author:Griffiths, FB (Mr F. Brian Griffiths)
UTAS Author:Westwood, KJ (Dr Karen Westwood)
UTAS Author:Wright, SW (Dr Simon Wright)
ID Code:86458
Year Published:2013
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP0773558)
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2013-09-17
Last Modified:2014-04-15
Downloads:351 View Download Statistics

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