Ocean acidification mediates photosynthetic response to UV radiation and temperature increase in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum

Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsible for progressive ocean acidification, ocean warming as well as decreased thickness of upper mixing layer (UML), thus exposing phytoplankton cells not only to lower pH and higher temperatures but also to higher levels of solar UV radiation. In order to evaluate the combined effects of ocean acidification, UV radiation and temperature, we used the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum as a model organism and examined its physiological performance after grown under two CO2 concentrations (390 and 1000 µatm) for more than 20 generations. Compared to the ambient CO2 level (390 µatm), growth at the elevated CO2 concentration increased non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of cells and partially counteracted the harm to PSII caused by UV-A and UV-B. Such an effect was less pronounced under increased temperature levels. As for photosynthetic carbon fixation, the rate increased with increasing temperature from 15 to 25 °C, regardless of their growth CO2 levels. In addition, UV-induced inhibition of photosynthesis was inversely correlated to temperature. The ratio of repair to UV-induced damage showed inverse relationship with increased NPQ, showing higher values under the ocean acidification condition against UV-B, reflecting that the increased pCO2 and lowered pH counteracted UV-B induced harm.

Li Y., Gao K., Villafañe V. E. & Helbling E. W., 2012. Ocean acidification mediates photosynthetic response to UV radiation and temperature increase in the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Biogeosciences Discussions 9: 7197-7226, doi:10.5194/bgd-9-7197-2012. Article.


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