Photosynthetic performance of the red alga Pyropia haitanensis during emersion, with special reference to effects of solar UV radiation, dehydration and elevated CO2 concentration

Macroalgae distributed in intertidal zones experience a series of environmental changes, such as periodical desiccation associated with tidal cycles, increasing CO2 concentration and solar UVB (280-315nm) irradiance in the context of climate change. We investigated how the economic red macroalga, Pyropia haitanensis, perform its photosynthesis under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration and in the presence of solar UV radiation (280-400nm) during emersion. Our results showed that elevated CO2 (800ppmv) significantly increased photosynthetic carbon fixation rate of P. haitanensis, by about 100% when the alga was dehydrated. Solar UV radiation had insignificant effects on the net photosynthesis without desiccation stress and under low levels of sunlight, but significantly inhibited it with increased levels of desiccation and sunlight intensity, to the highest extent at the highest levels of water loss and solar radiation. Presence of UV radiation and the elevated CO2 acted synergistically to cause higher inhibition of the photosynthetic carbon fixation, which exacerbated at higher levels of desiccation and sunlight. While P. haitanensis can benefit from increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration during emersion under low and moderate levels of solar radiation, combined effects of elevated CO2 and UV radiation acted synergistically to reduce its photosynthesis under high solar radiation levels during noon periods.

Xu J. & Gao K., in press. Photosynthetic performance of the red alga Pyropia haitanensis during emersion, with special reference to effects of solar UV radiation, dehydration and elevated CO2 concentration. Photochemistry and Photobiology. Article (subscription required).


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