Photosynthetic parameters in the Beaufort Sea in relation to the phytoplankton community structure
Abstract. To model phytoplankton primary production from remotely sensed data, a method to estimate photosynthetic parameters describing the photosynthetic rates per unit biomass is required. Variability in these parameters must be related to environmental variables that are measurable remotely. In the Arctic, a limited number of measurements of photosynthetic parameters have been carried out with the concurrent environmental variables needed. Such measurements and their relationship to environmental variables will be required to improve the accuracy of remotely sensed estimates of phytoplankton primary production and our ability to predict future changes. During the MALINA cruise, a large dataset of these parameters was obtained. Together with previously published datasets, we use environmental and trophic variables to provide functional relationships for these parameters. In particular, we describe several specific aspects: the maximum rate of photosynthesis (Pmaxchl) normalized to chlorophyll decreases with depth and is higher for communities composed of large cells; the saturation parameter (Ek) decreases with depth but is independent of the community structure; and the initial slope of the photosynthesis versus irradiance curve (αchl) normalized to chlorophyll is independent of depth but is higher for communities composed of larger cells. The photosynthetic parameters were not influenced by temperature over the range encountered during the cruise (−2 to 8 °C).