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Toward autonomous measurements of photosynthetic electron transport rates: an evaluation of active fluorescence-based measurements of photochemistry

Silsbe, Greg M.; Oxborough, Kevin; Suggett, David J.; Forster, Rodney M.; Ihnken, Sven; Komárek, Ondřej; Lawrenz, Evelyn; Prášil, Ondřej; Röttgers, Rüdiger; Šicner, Michal; Simis, Stefan G.H.; Van Dijk, Mark A.; Kromkamp, Jacco C.


Greg M. Silsbe

Kevin Oxborough

David J. Suggett

Sven Ihnken

Ondřej Komárek

Evelyn Lawrenz

Ondřej Prášil

Rüdiger Röttgers

Michal Šicner

Stefan G.H. Simis

Mark A. Van Dijk

Jacco C. Kromkamp


This study presents a methods evaluation and intercalibration of active fluorescence-based measurements of the quantum yield (ϕʹ 0 PSII) and absorption coefficient (aPSII) of photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry. Measurements of ϕʹ PSII , aPSII, and irradiance (E) can be scaled to derive photosynthetic electron transport rates (P e ), the process that fuels phytoplankton carbon fixation and growth. Bio-optical estimates of ϕ PSII and aPSII were evaluated using 10 phytoplankton cultures across different pigment groups with varying bio-optical absorption characteristics on six different fast-repetition rate fluorometers that span two different manufacturers and four different models. Culture measurements of ϕʹ PSII and the effective absorption cross section of PSII photochemistry (σPSII, a constituent of aPSII) showed a high degree of correspondence across instruments, although some instrument-specific biases are identified. A range of approaches have been used in the literature to estimate aPSII(λ) and are evaluated here.With the exception of ex situ aPSII(λ) estimates from paired σPSII and PSII reaction center concentration ([RCII]) measurements, the accuracy and precision of in situ aPSII(λ) methodologies are largely determined by the variance of method-specific coefficients. The accuracy and precision of these coefficients are evaluated, compared to literature data, and discussed within a framework of autonomous P e measurements. This study supports the application of an instrument-specific calibration coefficient (KR) that scales minimum fluorescence in the dark (F 0 ) to aPSII as both the most accurate in situ measurement of aPSII, and the methodology best suited for highly resolved autonomous P e measurements.VC 2014 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.


Silsbe, G. M., Oxborough, K., Suggett, D. J., Forster, R. M., Ihnken, S., Komárek, O., …Kromkamp, J. C. (2015). Toward autonomous measurements of photosynthetic electron transport rates: an evaluation of active fluorescence-based measurements of photochemistry. Limnology and oceanography, methods ASLO, 13(3), 138-155.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 20, 2015
Online Publication Date Mar 18, 2015
Publication Date 2015-03
Deposit Date Apr 16, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 20, 2018
Journal Limnology and oceanography : methods
Electronic ISSN 1541-5856
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages 138-155
Keywords Photosynthetic electron transport rates; Photochemistry; Fluorescence
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Limnology and oceanography : methods, 2015, v. 13.


Article (902 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

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