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Ecological impacts of photosynthetic light harvesting in changing aquatic environments: A systematic literature map

Cite this dataset

Hintz, Nils Hendrik; Schulze, Brian; Wacker, Alexander; Striebel, Maren (2022). Ecological impacts of photosynthetic light harvesting in changing aquatic environments: A systematic literature map [Dataset]. Dryad.


Underwater light is spatially as well as temporally variable and directly affects phytoplankton growth and competition. Here we systematically (following the guidelines of PRISMA-EcoEvo) searched and screened the published literature resulting in 640 individual articles. We mapped the conducted research for the objectives of (1) phytoplankton fundamental responses to light, (2) effects of light on the competition between phytoplankton species and (3) effects of climate change induced changes in the light availability in aquatic ecosystems. Among the fundamental responses of phytoplankton to light, the effects of light intensity (quantity, as measure of total photon or energy flux) were investigated in most identified studies. The effects of the light spectrum (quality) that via species-specific light absorbance result in direct consequences on species competition emerged more recently. Complexity in competition arises due to variability and fluctuations in light which effects are sparsely investigated on community level. Predictions regarding future climate change scenarios included changes in in stratification and mixing, lake and coastal ocean darkening, UV radiation, ice melting as well as light pollution which affect the underwater light-climate. Generalization of consequences is difficult due to a high variability, interactions of consequences as well as a lack in sustained timeseries and holistic approaches. Nevertheless, our systematic literature map, and the identified articles within, provide a comprehensive overview and shall guide prospective research.


Literature was collected according to the PRISMA-EcoEvo (O'Dea et al., 2021) guidelines according to three objectives (i.e. research question). Search was conducted in Web of Science on 15th of June 2021 with separate searches per objective. Suitable articles were identified by "topic". Results were imported to EndNote (Clarivate). Within the respective objective different topics of interest were identified and quantified (number of articles, and median year of publication per topic).

Usage notes


The files contain Endnote X8 files of literature search and selection process for the systematic map: Ecological impacts of photosynthetic light harvesting in changing aquatic environments: A systematic literature map

References are sorted according to their search/objective.
Hereby groups 1,2,3 include all records from electronical search
1a, 2a, 3a, include all records left after screening of the titles (of 1,2,3)
1b, 2b, 3b, include all records left after screening of the abstracts (of 1a,2a,3a)
1c, 2c, 3c, include all records after manual addition of articles.

Identified topics within the objectives were noted in the field "Research notes". E.g. using the term "strat" to indicate the respective article involves the effects of stratfication on underwater light availability and phytoplankton.

To access:

Download entire repository, open "Literature_Hintz_et_al_SystematicMap.enl" (double-click).
An installed version of Endnote (latest X8) is needed on your system. For dowloading Endnote follow

The literature was additionally exported from Endnote into Microsoft Excel.
Within the Excel file ("Literature_Hintz_et_al_SystematicMap.xlsx") all references are sorted sheetwise according to their objective and topic.
Due to clarity, not all reference information (as in Endnote) is presented in the Excel file. E.g., it does not contain abstracts, accession numbers etc. Nevertheless a identfication of the literation is given by: authors, year, title, journal, volume, issue, ISSN, DOI.