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Effect of irradiance and temperature on the photosynthesis of a cultivated red alga, Pyropia tenera (= Porphyra tenera), at the southern limit of distribution in Japan


  • Communicating editor: U. Karsten.


The effect of irradiance and temperature on the photosynthesis of the red alga, Pyropia tenera, was determined for maricultured gametophytes and sporophytes collected from a region that is known as one of the southern limits of its distribution in Japan. Macroscopic gametophytes were examined using both pulse-amplitude modulated fluorometry and/or dissolved oxygen sensors. A model of the net photosynthesis–irradiance (P-E) relationship of the gametophytes at 12°C revealed that the net photosynthetic rate quickly increased at irradiances below the estimated saturation irradiance of 46 μmol photons m−2 s−1, and the compensation irradiance was 9 μmol photons m−2 s−1. Gross photosynthesis and dark respiration for the gametophytes were also determined over a range of temperatures (8–34°C), revealing that the gross photosynthetic rates of 46.3 μmol O2 mgchl-a−1 min−1 was highest at 9.3 (95% Bayesian credible interval (BCI): 2.3–14.5)°C, and the dark respiration rate increased at a rate of 0.93 μmol O2 mgchl-a−1 min−1°C−1. The measured dark respiration rates ranged from −0.06 μmol O2 mgchl-a−1 min−1 at 6°C to −25.2 μmol O2 mgchl-a−1 min−1 at 34°C. The highest value of the maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) for the gametophytes occurred at 22.4 (BCI: 21.5–23.3) °C and was 0.48 (BCI: 0.475–0.486), although those of the sporophyte occurred at 12.9 (BCI: 7.4–15.1) °C and was 0.52 (BCI: 0.506–0.544). This species may be considered well-adapted to the current range of seawater temperatures in this region. However, since the gametophytes have such a low temperature requirement, they are most likely close to their tolerable temperatures in the natural environment.