Articles | Volume 8, issue 6
Research article
06 Jun 2011
Research article |  | 06 Jun 2011

Photosynthetic responses of Emiliania huxleyi to UV radiation and elevated temperature: roles of calcified coccoliths

K. Xu, K. Gao, V. E. Villafañe, and E. W. Helbling

Abstract. Changes in calcification of coccolithophores may affect their photosynthetic responses to both, ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 280–400 nm) and temperature. We operated semi-continuous cultures of Emiliania huxleyi (strain CS-369) at reduced (0.1 mM, LCa) and ambient (10 mM, HCa) Ca2+ concentrations and, after 148 generations, we exposed cells to six radiation treatments (>280, >295, >305, >320, >350 and >395 nm by using Schott filters) and two temperatures (20 and 25 °C) to examine photosynthesis and calcification responses. Overall, our study demonstrated that: (1) decreased calcification resulted in a down regulation of photoprotective mechanisms (i.e., as estimated via non-photochemical quenching, NPQ), pigments contents and photosynthetic carbon fixation; (2) calcification (C) and photosynthesis (P) (as well as their ratio) have different responses related to UVR with cells grown under the high Ca2+ concentration being more resistant to UVR than those grown under the low Ca2+ level; (3) elevated temperature increased photosynthesis and calcification of E. huxleyi grown at high Ca2+ concentrations whereas decreased both processes in low Ca2+ grown cells. Therefore, a decrease in calcification rates in E. huxleyi is expected to decrease photosynthesis rates, resulting in a negative feedback that further reduces calcification.

Final-revised paper