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Optical characterization of the oceanic unicellular cyanobacterium Synechococcus grown under a day-night cycle in natural irradianceThe optical properties of the ocenanic cyanobacterium Synechococcus (clone WH8103) were examined in a nutrient-replete laboratory culture grown under a day-night cycle in natural irradiance. Measurements of the spectral absorption and beam attenuation coefficients, the size distribution of cells in suspension, and microscopic analysis of samples were made at intervals of 2-4 hours for 2 days. These measurements were used to calculate the optical properties at the level of a single 'mean' cell representative of the acutal population, specifically, the optical cross sections for spectral absorption bar-(sigma(sub a)), scattering bar-sigma(sub b))(lambda), and attentuation bar-(sigma(sub c))(lambda). In addition, concurrent determinations of chlorophyll a and particulate organic carbon allowed calculation of the Chl a- and C-specific optical coefficients. The refractive index of cells was derived from the observed data using a theory of light absorption and scattering by homogeneous spheres. Low irradiance because of cloudy skies resulted in slow division rates of cells in the culture. The percentage of dividing cells was unusually high (greater than 30%) throughout the experiment. The optical cross sections varied greatly over a day-night cycle, with a minimum near dawn or midmorning and maximum near dusk. During daylight hours, bar-(sigma(sub b)) and bar-(sigma(sub c)) can increase more than twofold and bar-(sigma(sub a) by as much as 45%. The real part of the refractive index n increaed during the day; changes in n had equal or greater effect than the varying size distribution on changes in bar-(sigma(sub c)) and bar-(sigma(sub b)). The contribution of changes in n to the increase of bar-(sigma(sub c))(660) during daylight hours was 65.7% and 45.1% on day 1 and 2, respectively. During the dark period, when bar-(sigma(sub c))(660) decreased by a factor of 2.9, the effect of decreasing n was dominant (86.3%). With the exception of a few hours during the second light period, the imaginary part of the refractive index n' showed little variation over a day-night cycle, and bar-(sigma(sub a)) was largely controlled by variations in cell size. The real part of the refractive index at lambda = 660 nm was correlated with the intracellular C concentration and the imaginary part at lambda = 678 nm with the intracellular Chl a concentration. The C-specfic attenuation coefficient showed significant diel variability, which has implications for the estimation of oceanic primary production from measurements of diel variability in beam attenuation. This study provides strong evidence that diel variability is an important component of the optical characterization of marine phytoplankton.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Stramski, Dariusz (Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA United States)
Shalapyonok, Alexi (Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA United States)
Reynolds, Rick A. (Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
July 15, 1995
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 100
Issue: C7
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits