Three macroalgal species belonging to Chlorophyta (Ulva rigida), Rhodophyta (Ellisolandia elongata) and Phaeophyceae (Heterokontophyta; Cystoseira tamariscifolia), naturally growing at the same shore level and representing 3 morpho-functional groups, were exposed to short-term changes in temperature under different carbon and nitrogen regimes. Experiments were conducted in outdoor tanks at 4 combinations of carbon and nitrogen levels under reduced solar radiation. In vivo chl a fluorescence parameters and pigment contents were monitored to assess diurnal physiological responses and potential for recovery. Strong fluctuations in chl a fluorescence parameters, but not in chl a content, were observed in response to diurnal variation in solar radiation and light climate within the tanks; sensitivity varied between algal species and, in some cases, depended on the carbon and nitrogen regime. Nitrogen uptake was similarly high in U. rigida and E. elongata and lowest in C. tamariscifolia. In U. rigida and E. elongata, chl a concentrations decreased after high-carbon treatments. Effective photosystem II quantum efficiency was reduced in all species at noon, and lowest in C. tamariscifolia. The results highlight the complexity of physiological short-term acclimations which were most likely linked to biochemical changes at the cellular level. Long-term experiments are required in future for more comprehensive investigation of the observed interactive effects of the different environmental parameters.