The effects of five metals, copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), Zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb), on photosynthetic activity, measured as pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll fluorescence yield, was monitored in seven species of green, red and brown macroalgae over a 14 d period. The 10 mu mol l(-1) of Cr and Zn reduced chlorophyll fluorescence of all species by day 4, and 10 mu mol l(-1) of Cu and Cd reduced the fluorescence of some species; however, fluorescence yields of all species were unaffected by 10 mu mol l(-1) of Pb. Metals were generally accumulated in the order of Cu>Pb>Zn>Cr>Cd. Ulva intestinalis accumulated the highest amounts of all metals, and Cladophora rupestris the lowest. A relationship between internal metal concentration and fluorescence was not always evident as in some cases fluorescence was reduced at low metal contents. In the case of Zn, fluorescence was lowest in plants which contained lowest concentrations after 14d-exposure, possibly because plants had died and Zn leached out of the algal cells. The relationship between internal metal concentration and fluorescence was algal species and metal-specific. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.