Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 251–266, 2018
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 251–266, 2018

Brief communication 06 Feb 2018

Brief communication | 06 Feb 2018

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

Heather A. Bouman1, Trevor Platt2, Martina Doblin3, Francisco G. Figueiras4, Kristinn Gudmundsson5, Hafsteinn G. Gudfinnsson5, Bangqin Huang6, Anna Hickman7, Michael Hiscock8, Thomas Jackson2, Vivian A. Lutz9, Frédéric Mélin10, Francisco Rey11, Pierre Pepin12, Valeria Segura9, Gavin H. Tilstone2, Virginie van Dongen-Vogels3, and Shubha Sathyendranath2,13 Heather A. Bouman et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3AN, UK
  • 2Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, PL1 3DH, UK
  • 3Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney, P.O. Box 123 Broadway, Sydney, NSW 2007, Australia
  • 4Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC), Eduardo Cabello 6, 36208 Vigo, Spain
  • 5Marine Research Institute, P.O. Box 1390, 121 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 6State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science/Key Laboratory of Coastal and Wetland Ecosystems, Ministry of Education, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian 361005, China
  • 7Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK
  • 8United States Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C., 20460, USA
  • 9Instituto Nacional de Investigacion y Desarrollo Pesquero, Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • 10European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra 21027, Italy
  • 11Institute of Marine Research, c/o Department of Biological Sciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066, 0316, Oslo, Norway
  • 12Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, P.O. Box 5667, St John's, Newfoundland, A1C 5X1, Canada
  • 13National Centre for Earth Observation, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK

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.