Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 5, pp 1007–1020 | Cite as

Effects of light exposure on the retention of kleptoplastic photosynthetic activity in the sacoglossan mollusc Elysia viridis

  • S. Vieira
  • R. Calado
  • H. Coelho
  • João SerôdioEmail author
Original Paper


The effects of light exposure on the photosynthetic activity of kleptoplasts were studied in the sacoglossan mollusc Elysia viridis. The photosynthetic activity of ingested chloroplasts was assessed in vivo by non-destructively measuring photophysiological parameters using pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) fluorometry. Animals kept under starvation were exposed to two contrasting light conditions, 30 μmol photons m−2 s−1 (low light, LL), and 140 μmol photons m−2 s−1 (high light, HL), and changes in photosynthetic activity were monitored by measuring the maximum quantum yield of photosystem II (PSII), Fv/Fm, the minimum fluorescence, Fo, related to chlorophyll a content, and by measuring rapid light-response curves (RLC) of relative electron transport rate (rETR). RLCs were characterised by the initial slope of the curve, αRLC, related to efficiency of light capture, and the maximum rETR level, rETRm,RLC, determined by the carbon-fixation metabolism. Starvation induced the decrease of all photophysiological parameters. However, the retention of photosynthetic activity (number of days for Fv/Fm > 0), as well as the rate and the patterns of its decrease over time, varied markedly with light exposure. Under HL conditions, a rapid, exponential decrease was observed for Fv/Fm, αRLC and rETRm,RLC, Fo not showing any consistent trend of variation, and retention times ranged between 6 and 15 days. These results suggested that the retention of chloroplast functionality is limited by photoinactivation of PSII reaction center protein D1. In contrast, under LL conditions, a slower decrease in all parameters was found, with retention times varying from 15 to 57 days. Fv/Fm, αRLC and rETRm,RLC exhibited a bi-phasic pattern composed by a long phase of slow decrease in values followed by a rapid decline, whilst Fo decayed exponentially. These results were interpreted as resulting from lower rates of D1 photoinactivation under low light and from the gradual decrease in carbon provided by photosynthesis due to reduction of functional photosynthetic units.


Photosynthetic Activity Relative Electron Transport Rate Functional Chloroplast Rapid Light Curf Minimum Fluorescence Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to express our gratitude to Sílvia Pereira, Ana Sequeira and Henrique Queiroga who provided us the specimens analysed in the present study, collected as part of the daily sampling programme of Carcinus maenas megalopae financed by project PTDC/BIA-BDE/65425/2006. We also thank Estibaliz Berecibar for help in the identification of the Codium species. The experiments in the present work comply with the current laws of the country in which these experiments were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Vieira
    • 1
  • R. Calado
    • 1
  • H. Coelho
    • 1
  • João Serôdio
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia and CESAM, Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do MarUniversidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal

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