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Influence of nutrient stress on the relationships between PAMmeasurements and carbon incorporation in four phytoplankton species.

TitleInfluence of nutrient stress on the relationships between PAMmeasurements and carbon incorporation in four phytoplankton species.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNapoléon, C, Raimbault, V, Claquin, P
JournalPloS One

Two methods of measuring primary production, modulated fluorimetry (PAM) and the traditional carbon incorporation method (13C), were compared in four phytoplankton species, two diatoms (Pseudo-nitzschia pungens and Asterionellopsis glacialis), and two dinoflagellates (Heterocapsa sp and Karenia mikimoto\"ı), under N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and Si (silicon) limited semi-continuous culture. N and Si-limited cultures showed relatively high quantum efficiency of the PSII (Fv/Fm) values, confirming that Fv/Fm is not a good proxy for nutrient stress in balanced systems, whereas P limitation had a drastic effect on many physiological parameters. In all species, the physiological capacity of phytoplankton cells to acclimate to nutrient limitations led to changes in the cellular biochemical composition and the structure of the photosynthetic apparatus. The observed physiological responses were species and nutrient specific. The values of the chlorophyll-specific absorption cross section (a*) increased with nutrient limitation due to package effect, while the carbon/Chl a ratio was higher under N and P limitations. In diatoms, Si limitation did not affect photosynthesis confirming the uncoupling between Si and carbon metabolisms. In all four species and under all treatments, significant relationships were found between photosynthetic activities, ETRChl (electron transport rate) and PChl (carbon fixation rate) estimated using PAM measurements and 13C incorporation, showing that the fluorescence technique can reliably be used to estimate carbon fixation by phytoplankton. The relationship between ETRChl and PChl can be described by the shape and the slope of the curve ($\Phi$C.e). Linear relationships were found for dinoflagellates and P. pungens under all treatments. A decrease in $\Phi$C.e was observed under N and P limitation probably due to structural damage to the photosynthetic apparatus. A. glacialis showed a logarithmic relationship in N and P limited conditions, due to the alternative electron flow which takes place to optimise photosynthetic performances under high light and/or nutrient stress.