New research paper on Shutter Fluorometer


Aquation Director Dr John Runcie and colleague Dr Martin Riddle from the Australian Antarctic Division on the 15July2011 published a paper “Runcie, J.W., Riddle, M.J. (2011) Distinguishing downregulation from other non-photochemical quenching of an Antarctic benthic macroalga using in situ fluorometry”. European Journal of Phycology 46(3). 171-180, doi:10.1080/09670262.2011.584635.

The paper describes how automated dark-acclimation and measurement of photosynthetic organisms throughout the day can provide information describing both the extent and types of stress encountered over a 24 h period.  The technique is useful in distinguishing natural stress (e.g. high light) from other forms of stress including anthropogenic pollution.  Data collected for the paper was collected at Casey, one of Australia’s continental Antarctic Research Stations.


The quantum yield of chlorophyll a fluorescence of an Antarctic macroalga, Iridaea cordata, was measured in situ using logging fluorometers with an automated dark-acclimation capability throughout several diel periods. Application of far-red light and dark acclimation enabled the automated determination of photochemical quenching and non-photochemical quenching parameters that have until recently been restricted to manual measurement in terrestrial and shallow water environments. Our results show that non-photochemical quenching processes in Iridaea thalli that have been exposed to moderately high irradiances during the day, take all night to relax. We also show that, for algae exposed to relatively high light during the day, around 30–40% of total excitation flux is allocated to basal intrinsic non-radiative decay processes, with the remainder allocated to downregulation or photochemistry. The ability to evaluate the allocation of energy to these fundamentally different non-photochemical quenching processes has direct applications in assessing algal responses to both natural and anthropogenic stress. With this technology we open the door to a far more detailed examination of the regulation and kinetics of in situ photosynthesis and associated non-photochemical processes.

A PDF of the paper is available from the author on request: john.runcie “at”