The low photosynthetic efficiency of chlorophyll in freshly collected red algae, can, in the case of Porphyra perforata, P. nereocystis, and Porphyridium cruentum, be increased by growing the algae for 10 days in red or blue light. Exposure to darkness or to green light maintains the algae in their originally low efficiency with respect to chlorophyll, while retaining the high efficiency of phycobilins. Red- or blue-adapted algae are rapidly reversed by exposure to green light, the chlorophyll efficiency dropping to low values again in a few hours. This is assumed to account for the action spectrum of freshly gathered plants.
Some pigment changes were observed, but not in the direction of "chromatic adaptation;" and the carotenoid pigments were not activated, even by blue light, but remained as photosynthetically inactive shading filters. The higher red algae (Florideae) did not show activation of chlorophyll by red or blue light.