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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 230:59-70 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps230059

Effects of solar UV radiation on photosynthesis of the marine angiosperm Posidonia oceanica from southern Spain

Félix L. Figueroa1,*, Carlos Jiménez1, Benjamín Viñegla1, Eduardo Pérez-Rodríguez1, José Aguilera1, Antonio Flores-Moya2, María Altamirano2, Michael Lebert3, Donat P. Häder3

1Departamento de Ecología and
2Departamento de Biología Vegetal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Campus Universitario de Teatinos s/n, 29071 Málaga, Spain
3Institut für Botanik und Pharmazeutische Biologie, Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Staudstr. 5, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
*E-mail: felix_lopez

ABSTRACT: The effects of solar irradiance on the photosynthesis of the marine angiosperm Posidonia oceanica L. Delile were investigated by means of pulse amplitude-modulated (PAM) fluorescence in the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata-Níjar, southern Spain. The study was conducted in 2 different seasons, summer (September 1996) and winter (February 1997). Daily variation in the effective quantum yield (ΔF/Fm¹) was determined in plants growing at 2.5 m and in plants transferred from 15 m to 0.5 and 2.5 m depth. Three different experimental designs were conducted: (1) Incubation of shoots under 3 different solar radiation treatments using cut-off UV filters: full solar radiation (PAR + UV-A + UV-B), solar radiation without UV-B (PAR + UV-A) and solar radiation without UV (PAR); (2) short-term exposure (30 min) to high solar irradiance (photoinhibitory phase) under all treatments followed by transfer fo the plants to low irradiance for 4 h (recovery phase); (3) Preincubation of plants for 4 d under the 3 cited treatments followed by short-term exposure (30 min) to high solar irradiance under PAR + UV-A + UV-B, PAR + UV-A and PAR. A significant decrease in ΔF/Fm¹ occurred from dawn to noon (18% in September and only 6% in February), followed by total recovery during the afternoon in both seasons. The highest decrease in ΔF/Fm¹ occurred in shoots illuminated with PAR + UV-A radiation. This decrease was more pronounced in winter than in summer, and was substantially higher in plants transferred from deep (15 m) to shallow water than in plants harvested at 2.5 m. Moreover, the recovery in the afternoon was higher in plants incubated at 2.5 m than in those transferred from 15 m to shallow waters. In the second set of experiments, short exposure (30 min) of plants collected from 2.5 m confirmed that inhibition under PAR + UV-A was higher than under PAR + UV-A + UV-B. In general, full recovery after exposure to high solar irradiance (PAR + UVA + UV-B) occurred only in PAR-treated plants in September. Finally, when shoots of P. oceanica were preincubated for 4 d under PAR, PAR + UV-A or PAR + UV-A + UV-B and then submitted to full solar irradiance at the water surface, the greatest reduction in ΔF/Fm¹ was seen in plants grown under PAR, while the lowest occurred in PAR + UV-A + UV-B pretreated plants in both seasons. Recovery was higher in PAR + UV-A + UV-B pretreated plants. UV solar irradiance also affected both maximal electron transport rate (ETR) and the initial slope of the ETR-irradiance curves. P. oceanica seems to be well acclimated to high solar irradiance, showing a high capacity for recovery. Solar UV-B might be involved in the impairment and recovery of photosynthesis, since removal of UV-B promoted higher inhibition by solar irradiance. The absence of UV under high PAR for several days resulted in a partial loss of the capacity for photoprotection. We conclude that UV radiation could act in the natural habitat as a trigger for the induction of photoprotective mechanisms against high solar irradiance. The ecological implication of the beneficial role of UV-B in well-acclimated marine plants to high irradiance is discussed.

KEY WORDS: Marine angiosperms · PAM-fluorometry · Posidonia oceanica · UV radiation

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