An empirical model of Skeletonema costatum photosynthetic rate is developed and fit to measurements of photosynthesis selected from the literature. Because the model acknowledges existence of: 1) a light-temperature interaction (by allowing optimum irradiance to vary with temperature), 2) light inhibition, 3) temperature inhibition, and 4) a salinity effect, it accurately estimates photosynthetic rates measured over a wide range of temperature, light intensity, and salinity. Integration of predicted instantaneous rate of photosynthesis with time and depth yields daily net carbon assimilation (pg C cell-1 day-1) in a mixed layer of specified depth, when salinity, temperature, daily irradiance and extinction coefficient are known. The assumption of constant carbon quota (pg C cell-1) allows for prediction of mean specific growth rate (day-1), which can be used in numerical models of Skeletonema costatum population dynamics. Application of the model to northern San Francisco Bay clearly demonstrates the limitation of growth by low light availability, and suggests that large population densities of S. costatum observed during summer months are not the result of active growth in the central deep channels (where growth rates are consistently predicted to be negative). But predicted growth rates in the lateral shallows are positive during summer and fall, thus offering a testable hypothesis that shoals are the only sites of active population growth by S. costatum (and perhaps other neritic diatoms) in the northern reach of San Francisco Bay. ?? 1978.
Additional publication details
Empirical model of Skeletonema costatum photosynthetic rate, with applications in the San Francisco Bay estuary