Daily light intensities (Io) can vary 10-fold during the winter-spring and late-summer diatom blooms in New England, USA, coastal waters. Laboratory cultures and natural populations incubated in dialysis sacs were examined to determine the time course of growth rate in Skeletonema costatum (Greville) Cleve in response to variations in daily light intensity during two bloom periods in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, USA. Log-phase cultures of S. costatum require 2 d to attain maximum growth rates at 2°C following transfer to saturating intensities. At 20°C, only 1 d is required. As temperature increases, Detonula confervacea (Cleve) Gran, Thalassiosira nordenskiöldii Cleve and Ditylum brightwellii (West) Grunow also exhibit rapid increases in mean daily division rates (K) following transfer to saturating light intensities. Thalassiosira pseudonana Hustedt, however, did not alter the time required to achieve maximum K as temperature varied. Natural populations of S. costatum did not show a well-defined relationship between K and light. Throughout a winterspring bloom, K was limited by low temperatures and exhibited no clear response to variations in Io. A change in K in response to variation in Io may occur on a daily basis during the summer, when temperatures are near 20°C; this has yet to be verified for in situ populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science