Photosynthetic performance and dark respiration rates were determined in situ for abundant macroalgae occurring between 27–49 m depths off Bermuda. Brown algae, particularly members of the order Dictyotales, predominated at all deep-water sites, and Stypopodium zonale was the most abundant species. Species showed net photosynthesis at very low ambient irradiances (<0.01 maximum Io). Lobophora variegata, a species with a highly decumbent growth form, had low productivity across all irradiances. In contrast, Dictyota spp. (D. bartayresii, D. dichotoma, D. divaricata) and S. zonale had high photosynthetic capacity (ca. 400 µmol O2 gdw−1 h−1), and light saturation was not evidenced at the highest ambient irradiance level (300 µE m−1 s−1) for species with thin, flat thalli. Light-harvesting pigment concentrations reflected tissue-nitrogen levels. C:N atom ratios, except for L. variegata and D. divaricata, were within the ratio for balanced growth. The repeated occurrence and photosynthetic efficiency of these Dictyotalean species in subtropical and tropical deep-water habitats emphasize their successful adaptation to low-light, nutrient-poor environments.
Algae (Macro, Turf and Crustose Coralline)
SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)