Salt Stress Impacts Photosynthesis in Algae
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that investigated how salt affects the electron transport chain.
High salt levels in soil and water, which can limit photosynthesis by plants and algae, is a growing concern for areas prone to drought and sea level rise. A key component of photosynthesis is the electron transport chain, which has two light-dependent parts: photosystem I and photosystem II. In this study, scientists measured how salt impacted the photosystems of a freshwater green algae species. The figure shows how different salt (NaCl) concentrations affect the ability of the photosystems, and the electron transport chain as a whole, to produce oxygen gas. The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Describe the impact of environmental factors on the electron transport chain and compare the differences between its components.
assay, electron transport chain (ETC), estuary, light reaction, oxygen, photosystem, salinity, scatter plot, trend line
El-sheekh, Mostafa M. “Inhibition of the water splitting system by sodium chloride stress in the green alga Chlorella vulgaris.” Brazilian Journal of Plant Physiology 16, 1 (2004): 25–29. https://doi.org/10.1590/s1677-04202004000100004.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1-5; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
ENE-1.J; SP1, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 1.3, 1.4, 1.8, 2.4, 5.10
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-1.C, ERT-1.D, ENG-1.A, ERT-2.F, EIN-2.M, SP5, SP7
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.S-ID.6, Math.S-IC.4; MP2, MP5
Vision and Change (2009)
CC4; DP2, DP3