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Light harvesting and the package effect in the seagrasses Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König and Zostera marina L.: optical constraints on photoacclimation
Cummings, M.E.; Zimmerman, R.C. (2003). Light harvesting and the package effect in the seagrasses Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König and Zostera marina L.: optical constraints on photoacclimation. Aquat. Bot. 75(3): 261-274. dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0304-3770(02)00180-8
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Light absorption; Limiting factors; Photoreception; Photosynthesis; Photosynthetic pigments; Sea grass; Thalassia testudinum K.D.Koenig, 1805 [WoRMS]; Zostera marina Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; ASW, Bahama I., Exuma Cays, Lee Stocking I. [Marine Regions]; INE, USA, California, Monterey Bay [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Cummings, M.E.
  • Zimmerman, R.C.

Abstract
    Although seagrasses possess numerous adaptations for life underwater, they lack the specialized accessory pigments for the efficient harvesting of green light that dominates many aquatic environments. Without these specialized pigments, photoacclimation by seagrasses is likely to result in a severe package effect, i.e. the loss of linearity between light harvesting efficiency and pigment loading. Here, we investigated the optical constraints imposed by the package effect on photoacclimation in seagrass leaves. Pigment concentrations and optical properties (absorptances, absorption coefficients and optical cross-sections) of turtlegrass (Thalassia testudium) leaves from Lee Stocking Island (LSI; Bahamas) and eelgrass (Zostera marina) leaves from Monterey Bay, CL, USA were measured at different times of the year. Chlorophyll concentrations and optical cross-sections differed by a factor of five across sampling dates and populations. Increases in leaf-specific absorption among seagrass leaves were greatest in the green (500-600 nm), while the package effect, as measured by a decrease in leaf optical cross-section, was most severe in the blue (400-500 nm) and red (600-700 nm). Consequently, the five-fold range in pigment concentration resulted in similar photosynthetic light harvest efficiencies (PhiL equals 50% of incident PAR) for intact seagrass leaves in their native light environments. Although the package effect has significant impacts on the optical properties of seagrass leaves, chlorophyll use efficiency does not appear to play a strong role in the ecology or evolution of seagrasses.

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