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Morpho-functional patterns and zonation of South Chilean seaweeds: the importance of photosynthetic and bio-optical traits
Gómez, I.; Huovinen, P. (2011). Morpho-functional patterns and zonation of South Chilean seaweeds: the importance of photosynthetic and bio-optical traits. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 422: 77-91
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Absorptance . Bio-optics . PAR . Photosynthetic characteristics . Seaweeds . Southern Chile . Underwater light . UV radiation . Zonation

Authors  Top 
  • Gómez, I.
  • Huovinen, P.

    We address the question of whether seaweed zonation can be characterized in terms of light absorption, pigmentation, photosynthetic parameters, photoinhibition, and thallus structure. Based on 32 seaweed species from the Pacific coast of southern Chile, intertidal assemblages exhibited higher light requirements for photosynthesis (Ek) and lower thallus light absorptances than subtidal algae. Ek values were lower than the highest measured irradiances at the corresponding natural depths, suggesting that photosynthesis in these organisms could potentially occur at lower depths. During summer, 1% of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) reached a depth of 23 m, while UV-B and UV-A wavelengths were completely attenuated at <3 and 6 m, respectively. Overall, the photobiological adaptations were associated with depth, morphology, and taxonomic group. Photoinhibition was similar in algae from different depths, although recovery was higher in upper littoral algae than in infra- and sublittoral species. The characteristics conferring competitive abilities in light use and light stress tolerance were not, or only partially, related to the classical Littler form-function model. The filamentous and foliose forms were able to acclimate rapidly to changing light and physical stress in the supralittoral zone. For infralittoral kelps living in a highly dynamic environment, higher cross-sectional area and enhanced in vivo light absorption were coupled with morphological features (e.g. massive thallus) that are advantageous in withstanding e.g. water movement. By contrast, the rapid physiological adjustments that allow algae to endure solar stress (e.g. photochemical down-regulation) were strongly dependent on the position on the shore but not on gross morphology.

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