Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Brief communication
06 Feb 2018
Brief communication |  | 06 Feb 2018

Photosynthesis–irradiance parameters of marine phytoplankton: synthesis of a global data set

Heather A. Bouman, Trevor Platt, Martina Doblin, Francisco G. Figueiras, Kristinn Gudmundsson, Hafsteinn G. Gudfinnsson, Bangqin Huang, Anna Hickman, Michael Hiscock, Thomas Jackson, Vivian A. Lutz, Frédéric Mélin, Francisco Rey, Pierre Pepin, Valeria Segura, Gavin H. Tilstone, Virginie van Dongen-Vogels, and Shubha Sathyendranath

Abstract. The photosynthetic performance of marine phytoplankton varies in response to a variety of factors, environmental and taxonomic. One of the aims of the MArine primary Production: model Parameters from Space (MAPPS) project of the European Space Agency is to assemble a global database of photosynthesis–irradiance (P-E) parameters from a range of oceanographic regimes as an aid to examining the basin-scale variability in the photophysiological response of marine phytoplankton and to use this information to improve the assignment of P-E parameters in the estimation of global marine primary production using satellite data. The MAPPS P-E database, which consists of over 5000 P-E experiments, provides information on the spatio-temporal variability in the two P-E parameters (the assimilation number, PmB, and the initial slope, αB, where the superscripts B indicate normalisation to concentration of chlorophyll) that are fundamental inputs for models (satellite-based and otherwise) of marine primary production that use chlorophyll as the state variable. Quality-control measures consisted of removing samples with abnormally high parameter values and flags were added to denote whether the spectral quality of the incubator lamp was used to calculate a broad-band value of αB. The MAPPS database provides a photophysiological data set that is unprecedented in number of observations and in spatial coverage. The database will be useful to a variety of research communities, including marine ecologists, biogeochemical modellers, remote-sensing scientists and algal physiologists. The compiled data are available at (Bouman et al., 2017).

Short summary
The photosynthetic response of marine phytoplankton to available irradiance is a central part of satellite-based models of ocean productivity. This study brings together data from a variety of oceanographic campaigns to examine how the parameters of photosynthesis–irradiance response curves vary over the global ocean. This global synthesis reveals biogeographic, latitudinal and depth-dependent patterns in the photosynthetic properties of natural phytoplankton assemblages.