Microphotometric Assessment of Spectral Absorption and Its Potential Application for Characterization of Harmful Algal Species

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Marine Science


A comparison was made of microphotometric measurements and spectrophotometric measurements of particulate spectral absorption of four algal species, including the chlorophyte Dunaliella tertiolecta Butcher; a nontoxic dinoflagellate, Amphidinium carterae Hulburt; a diatom, Chaetoceros gracilis Schutt; and a toxic dinoflagellate, Gymnodinium breve Steidinger, Particulate spectral absorption of monospecies cultures was estimated as the product of the average absorption efficiency factor, Q(a), determined by microphotometry, the cellular cross-sectional area, and the cell number density. Estimates of particulate spectral absorption from microphotometric measurements were, in most cases, within one standard deviation of values determined from spectrophotometric measurements of algal suspensions. Estimates of Q(a)(675) were shown to be consistent with values reported in previous studies for cells of similar size and pigmentation and were consistent with theoretical predictions. Absorption spectra of mixtures of C. gracilis and G. breve were numerically decomposed into contributions by absorption signatures of monospecies cultures using either spectrophotometric or microphotometric measurements as the basis for end members. Modeled contributions assigned to either species displayed trends consistent with the actual proportions contributed to the spectrum by each algal culture. However, the technique was sensitive to measurement variability, which reduced the level of agreement between modeled and actual contributions. The utility of this approach for identification of algal taxa will depend on the degree to which algal spectral absorption signatures differ and the capabilities for acquiring high-resolution data with low signal-to-noise ratios.

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Journal of Phycology





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