The absorption and circular dichroism of the purple membrane in solution and the linear and circular dichroism of the purple membrane oriented in a film were used to detect changes in the membrane protein structure and membrane organization in the pH range of 2.4 to 12.6. Main findings are (a) the membrane protein structure is stable at every level of organization to pH changes over the range of 5.0 to 8.5. (b) Tertiary structural changes occur in the membrane protein structure in the pH range of 2.4 to 5.0 and 8.5 to 11.8 without any secondary structural involvement. (c) An irreversible change occurs in the membrane organization in the pH range of 11.8 to 12.6 involving large tertiary and secondary structural changes in the membrane protein. (d) The retinyl chromophore is influenced by a nearby ionizable group. (e) The membrane crystalline structure is highly stable to pH perturbation except at the high pH range of 11.0 to 11.8. © 1979.