Marine Biology

, 164:182 | Cite as

Photosynthetic activity and photoprotection in green and red leaves of the seagrasses, Halophila ovalis and Cymodocea rotundata: implications for the photoprotective role of anthocyanin

  • Pimchanok BuapetEmail author
  • Fonthip Makkliang
  • Chongdee Thammakhet-Buranachai
Original paper


Although anthocyanin accumulation is common among intertidal seagrasses in the tropical bioregions, its physiological role remains to be elucidated. While several works suggested that leaf anthocyanin plays a photoprotective role, others concluded that it compensates for lower capacity of other photoprotective mechanisms. To test the photoprotection hypothesis, we assessed the physiological responses of the seagrasses, Halophila ovalis and Cymodocea rotundata, which exhibit green (anthocyanin poor) and red (anthocyanin rich) plants in the same meadow. Diurnal variations in maximum quantum yield showed similar level of photoinhibition between the green and red leaves. Greater effective quantum yield and chlorophyll b/a ratio detected in the red leaves of H. ovalis suggest shade acclimation. The red leaves of C. rotundata had lower xanthophyll content and de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle than the green leaves while the red leaves of H. ovalis contained higher xanthophyll content than the green leaves. The red leaves of C. rotundata displayed higher activity of ascorbate peroxidase and lower total reactive oxygen species, whereas, no significant difference in oxidative stress-related parameters between green and red leaves of H. ovalis was detected. Our results demonstrate that although anthocyanin appears to contribute to photoprotection by acting as sunscreen, it does not confer greater tolerance to high irradiance in H. ovalis and C. rotundata and anthocyanic seagrasses are not limited in their capacity for other photoprotective mechanisms. It is concluded that green-leafed and red-leafed seagrasses cope equally well with high light in their natural settings by utilizing different combinations of photoprotective mechanisms.



This project was financially supported by the Research Fund for DPST Graduates with First Placement Fiscal Year 2014 (Grant no. 16/2557) awarded by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST). Special acknowledgment goes to Hadrien Verbois, Ekkalak Rattanachot and Sarit Songmuang for very helpful assistance during field trips. We also thank the project mentor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anchana Prathep. Finally, the authors wish to thank Dr. Alan Frederick-Geater for assistance with the English proofreading.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Pimchanok Buapet has received research grant from IPST. The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

227_2017_3215_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (370 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 370 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencePrince of Songkla UniversityHat YaiThailand
  2. 2.Coastal Oceanography and Climate Change Research CenterPrince of Songkla UniversityHat YaiThailand
  3. 3.Trace Analysis and Biosensor Research Center, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of SciencePrince of Songkla UniversityHat YaiThailand

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