In situ photosynthesis and estimated annual production of the red macroalga Myriogramme mangini in relation to underwater irradiance at Signy Island (Antarctica)
For the first time, photosynthesis of Myriogramme mangini (Gain) Skottsberg, one of the dominant red macroalgae in the sublittoral of Signy Island (South Orkney Islands), was studied in situ under natural irradiance levels in specially developed incubation chambers. M. mangini is adapted to low irradiance levels. Water transparency varied over the year. A maximum attenuation coefficient (kd) of 0.328 m−1 was reached in January, and the water was clearest in September with a kd value of 0.079 m−1. Classification of the water type on a Jerlov scale, gave water type 4 in January and II in May and June. The mean kd value over the year was 0.158 m−1 and the water was classified as Jerlov's water type 1. The euphotic depths (Zeu) for 1%, 0.1% and 0.01% surface irradiance levels were 29.1 m, 43.7 m and 58.3 m, respectively. Photosynthetic characteristics were determined, with the oxygen production rates and irradiance levels measured in situ, using P-I curves. The initial saturation irradiance (Ik) varied significantly from 18.0 ± 1.5 μmol m−2 s−1 in autumn to 10.5 ± 1.8 μmol m−2 s−1 in early spring. Mean photosynthetic capacity (Pg max) ranged from 57.2 ± 1.3 μmol O2 g−1DW h−1 to 63.1 ± 1.6 μmol O2 g−1DW h−1. The photosynthetic efficiency (α) was 3.2 ± 0.2 μmol O2 g−1DW h−1 (μmol m−2 s−1)−1 in autumn and 6.0 ± 1.0 μmol O2 g−1DW h−1 (μmol m−2 s−1)−1 in early spring. Compensation irradiance (Ic) was low and ranged from 2.5 to 2.8 μmol m−2 s−1. Estimates of annual net production rates were 128.1 and 0.6 mmol O2 g−1DW y−1 at 5 m depth and 20 m depth, respectively. A maximum depth of occurrence of M. mangini was predicted at 22.9 m (2.7% of the surface irradiance).