Effects of light quality on initiation and development of meroplanktonic diatom blooms in a eutrophic shallow sea

Tomoyuki Shikata, Atsushi Nukata, Souta Yoshikawa, Tadashi Matsubara, Yasuhiro Yamasaki, Yohei Shimasaki, Yuji Oshima, Tsuneo Honjo

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27 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effects of light quality on resting stage cell germination and vegetative cell growth of meroplanktonic diatoms in a small port in Hakata Bay, Japan and in the laboratory. During the investigation over the year of 2006, the meroplanktonic diatom bloom first occurred in the end of May and then repeated wane and wax until October in the small port. From late April to middle May, light penetrating the water column was often strong and attenuations of all spectral lights were low. During this period, Skeletonema costatum, Thalassiosira minima, and Chaetoceros sp. appeared frequently, followed by the blooms of S. costatum and Chaetoceros sp. in late May. Thereafter, S. costatum and Chaetoceros sp. bloomed in late June but not in middle June, when pigmented flagellates bloom appeared. The attenuation of short-wavelength light such as violet and blue lights was markedly high during these diatom and flagellate blooms; all blooms disappeared within several days. Vegetative cell strains of the three diatoms under light emitting diodes (LEDs) with six different spectra (violet, blue, green, orange, red, and near-infrared) grew at a higher rate under short-wavelength light, violet and blue. On the other hand, when suspensions of bottom sediments from Hakata Bay were cultured under the same LEDs and in the dark, vegetative cells of S. costatum appeared under all LEDs except for orange and near-infrared, vegetative cells of T. minima appeared under all LEDs but not in the dark, and vegetative cells of Chaetoceros sp. appeared under violet and blue LEDs. However, vegetative cell densities of the three diatoms increased much more under violet light than under other LEDs within a short period (6 days). Our study indicates that underwater penetration by short-wavelength light, such as violet and blue, may be an important factor in the initiation and development of meroplanktonic diatom blooms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-889
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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