Water research

Estimation of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and photosynthetic activity of estuarine phytoplankton using a multiple-fixed-wavelength spectral fluorometer.

PMID 23340016


The utility of a multiple-fixed-wavelength spectral fluorometer, the Algae Online Analyser (AOA), as a means of quantifying chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and phytoplankton photosynthetic activity was tested using algal cultures and natural communities from North Inlet estuary, South Carolina. Comparisons of AOA measurements of CDOM to those by spectrophotometry showed a significant linear relationship, but increasing amounts of background CDOM resulted in progressively higher over-estimates of chromophyte contributions to a simulated mixed algal community. Estimates of photosynthetic activity by the AOA at low irradiance (≈ 80 μmol quanta m(-2) s(-1)) agreed well with analogous values from the literature for the chlorophyte, Dunaliella tertiolecta, but were substantially lower than previous measurements of the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (F(v)/F(m)) in Thalassiosira weissflogii (a diatom) and Rhodomonas salina (a cryptophyte). When cells were exposed to high irradiance (1500 μmol quanta m(-2) s(-1)), declines in photosynthetic activity with time measured by the AOA mirrored estimates of cellular fluorescence capacity using the herbicide 3'-(3, 4-dichlorophenyl)-1',1'-dimethyl urea (DCMU). The AOA shows promise as a tool for the continuous monitoring of phytoplankton community composition, CDOM, and the group-specific photosynthetic activity of aquatic ecosystems.

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