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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 67:161-175 (2012)  -  DOI:

Efficiency of photoprotection in microphytobenthos: role of vertical migration and the xanthophyll cycle against photoinhibition

João Serôdio1,2,*, João Ezequiel1, Alexandre Barnett2, Jean-Luc Mouget3, Vona Méléder2,4, Martin Laviale1,4, Johann Lavaud2

1Departamento de Biologia and CESAM (Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar), Universidade de Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2UMR 7266 ‘LIENSs’, CNRS-University of La Rochelle, Institute for Coastal and Environmental Research (ILE), 2 Rue Olympe de Gouges, 17000 La Rochelle, France
3Mer Molécules Santé (MMS) EA 2160, Université du Maine, Av. O. Messiaen, 72085 Le Mans Cedex 9, France
4Mer Molécules Santé (MMS) EA 2160, Université de Nantes, BP 92 208, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France

ABSTRACT: The capacity of microphytobenthos to withstand the variable and extreme conditions of the intertidal environment, prone to cause photoinhibition, has been attributed to particularly efficient photoprotection. However, little is known regarding the capacity of this protection against photoinhibition or the mechanisms responsible for it. The present study quantified the photoprotective capacity and the extent of photoinhibition under excess light, estimated the contribution of vertical migration and the xanthophyll cycle to overall photoprotection, and evaluated the effects of photoacclimation. A new experimental protocol combined (1) chlorophyll fluorescence imaging, for the simultaneous measurement of replicates and experimental treatments, (2) specific inhibitors for vertical migration and for the xanthophyll cycle, to quantify the relative contribution of each process, and (3) recovery kinetics analysis of photosynthetic activity during light stress-recovery experiments, to distinguish rapidly reversible photochemical down-regulation from photoinhibition. The results show a high photoprotective capacity in 2 study periods, May and October, with photoinhibition rates below 20%. A clear change in photoacclimation state was observed, with acclimation to lower irradiances in autumn associated with higher susceptibility to photoinhibition. In May, vertical migration and the xanthophyll cycle provided comparable protection against photoinhibition; in October, the former predominated. The sum of their contributions was ~20% in both months, suggesting that other processes also contribute to photoprotection.

KEY WORDS: Microphytobenthos · Photoinhibition · Photoprotection · Xanthophyll cycle · Vertical migration · Non-photochemical quenching · Chlorophyll fluorescence · Diatoms

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Cite this article as: Serôdio J, Ezequiel J, Barnett A, Mouget JL, Méléder V, Laviale M, Lavaud J (2012) Efficiency of photoprotection in microphytobenthos: role of vertical migration and the xanthophyll cycle against photoinhibition. Aquat Microb Ecol 67:161-175.

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