About this Research Topic
Studies from diverse fields are starting to show complex interactions among photoperiod, light acclimation, growth rate, carbon and nitrogen metabolism in phytoplankters.
Closely related taxa can show differing or even opposing responses.
These responses are the outcomes of complex, non-linear interactions among photosynthetic metabolism, pigment composition, pools of reserve molecules, circadian rhythms, photoreceptors and cell cycles.
With climate change the modelled, and measured, niches of many phytoplankton taxa are now shifting polewards, with shifts of 10º or more anticipated within the century.
For mid- or high- latitude taxa such shifts will impose significant changes in photoperiod during the growing seasons, and will bring taxa into new mixing regimes which will alter their realized light exposures.
In parallel polar ice cover is decreasing, but some temperate origin strains may be differentially barred from poleward expansion by their evolved photoperiod responses and temperature sensitivities. Other taxa are likely more opportunistic generalists, poised to expand into new areas.
It is now timely to bring together a Research Topic on Photoperiods & Phytoplankton, reaching from basic processes and mechanisms, to ecophysiological responses, to discussions of anticipated future regimes.
Keywords: Phytoplankton, Photosynthesis, Photoreceptors, Cyanobacteria, Diatoms
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