Morpho-functional patterns of photosynthesis and UV sensitivity in the kelp Lessonia nigrescens (Laminariales, Phaeophyta)
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The photosynthetic responses of the south Pacific kelp Lessonia nigrescens of the coast of Valdivia, Chile (40°S), were investigated by exposing its different thallus parts, fronds, stipes and holdfasts, to UV radiation in the laboratory. Biologically effective doses (BEDphotoinhibition300) between 400 and 800 kJ m−2 were required for a 40% inhibition in photosynthesis under UVA+UVB radiation. At BEDphotoinhibition300 close to 250 kJ m−2 (in treatments without UVB), the inhibition of photosynthesis did not exceed 20%. These UV doses were in the range of current daily doses measured in Valdivia on cloudless summer days. In general, exposure to UVB for periods longer than 12 h reduced photosynthesis, measured as maximal quantum yield (Fv/Fm) and electron transport. The fronds were the most UV-sensitive section of this alga, coinciding with the highest pigments contents and carbon fixation. Evidence of a photodamage was also seen. After a 48 h exposure to PAR+UVA+UVB, a decrease of Fv/Fm in the fronds was close to 41%, while in the stipes and holdfasts it was 12 and 18%, respectively. Although the thalli from the different size classes showed marked differences in their morphology and morphometry, no obvious differences in the UV tolerance of the fronds were detected. The results indicated that the UV-related responses are integrated in the suite of morpho-functional adaptations of the alga. Although the fronds are spatially more exposed to solar radiation than basal structures (stipes and holdfast), due their high turnover rate they may compensate better detrimental effects of UV. In contrast, stipes and the holdfast are key support structures characterized by low replacement rates and designed to confer hydrodynamic resistance to drag forces.
KeywordsPhotosynthesis Photosynthetically Active Radiation Chlorophyll Fluorescence Electron Transport Rate Biologically Effective Dose
The study was financially supported by CONICYT-Chile (FONDECYT 1030343 to I.G). The authors thank J. Landerretche for valuable technical assistance and P. Huovinen and two anonymous reviewers for critical reading of the manuscript.
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