Enhanced calcification ameliorates the negative effects of UV radiation on photosynthesis in the calcifying phytoplankter Emiliania huxleyi

The calcifying phytoplankton species, coccolithophores, have their calcified coccoliths around the cells, however, their physiological roles are still unknown. Here, we hypothesized that the coccoliths may play a certain role in reducing solar UV radiation (UVR, 280–400 nm) and protect the cells from being harmed. Cells of Emiliania huxleyi with different thicknesses of the coccoliths were obtained by culturing them at different levels of dissolved inorganic carbon and their photophysiological responses to UVR were investigated. Although increased dissolved inorganic carbon decreased the specific growth rate, the increased coccolith thickness significantly ameliorated the photoinhibition of PSII photochemical efficiency caused by UVR. Increase by 91% in the coccolith thickness led to 35% increase of the PSII yield and 22% decrease of the photoinhibition of the effective quantum yield (ΦPSII) by UVR. The coccolith cover reduced more UVA (320–400 nm) than UVB (280–315 nm), leading to less inhibition per energy at the UV-A band.

Guan W. & Gao K, 2010. Enhanced calcification ameliorates the negative effects of UV radiation on photosynthesis in the calcifying phytoplankter Emiliania huxleyi. Chinese Science Bulletin 55(7):2010-03-01. Article (subscription required).
   

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