MEPS 555:95-107 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11802

Relative sensitivity of DNA and photosystem II in Ulva intestinalis (Chlorophyta) under natural solar irradiation

Frauke Pescheck*, Hanna Campen, Lars Nichelmann, Wolfgang Bilger

Botanical Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Olshausenstr. 40, 24098 Kiel, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: High intensities of sunlight can result in DNA and photosystem II (PSII) damage. However, the relative sensitivity of both these targets under natural sunlight and especially over a long period has not been studied in algae so far. Although DNA damage is highly specifically induced by ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB, 280-315 nm), PSII is inactivated by a broad spectrum. The green macroalga Ulva intestinalis is an appropriate and interesting study organism with which to investigate the relative importance of the 2 different targets of sunlight because this alga contains no UV-screening protective pigments, although it is exposed to strong solar irradiation in its natural habitat. This entails a high risk of DNA damage. Therefore, diel time courses and long‑term development of DNA damage and the optimal quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm) were studied in situ. Fv/Fm was extremely reduced at noon, but a fast recovery was observed in the afternoon. As dark-adapted basal fluorescence (Fo) of PSII was substantially decreased during the day, non-photochemical quenching is suggested to be a key photoprotective strategy in U. intestinalis. In contrast, even in samples with strongly reduced Fv/Fm, only very low DNA damage was found, irrespective of the accumulated UVB dose. We propose that efficient photoreactivation driven by natural sunlight balances the induction of dimers. This leads to a higher UVB tolerance of DNA than that observed in algae under experimental UVB irradition. In this field study, U. intestinalis suffered more from photoinhibition than from DNA damage.


KEY WORDS: Diel cycle · DNA damage · Intertidal zone · Long-term data · Photosynthetic efficiency · Ultraviolet radiation · Sunlight · Ulva intestinalis


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Cite this article as: Pescheck F, Campen H, Nichelmann L, Bilger W (2016) Relative sensitivity of DNA and photosystem II in Ulva intestinalis (Chlorophyta) under natural solar irradiation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 555:95-107. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11802

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