Differences in the photosynthetic plasticity of ferns and Ginkgo grown in experimentally controlled low [O2]:[CO2] atmospheres may explain their contrasting ecological fate across the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction boundary.
ABSTRACT: Fluctuations in [CO 2 ] have been widely studied as a potential driver of plant evolution; however, the role of a fluctuating [O 2 ]:[CO 2 ] ratio is often overlooked. The present study aimed to investigate the inherent physiological plasticity of early diverging, extant species following acclimation to an atmosphere similar to that across the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction interval (TJB, approx. 200 Mya), a time of major ecological change.Mature plants from two angiosperm ( Drimys winteri and Chloranthus oldhamii ), two monilophyte ( Osmunda claytoniana and Cyathea australis ) and one gymnosperm ( Ginkgo biloba ) species were grown for 2 months in replicated walk-in Conviron BDW40 chambers running at TJB treatment conditions of 16 % [O 2 ]-1900?ppm [CO 2 ] and ambient conditions of 21 % [O 2 ]-400?ppm [CO 2 ], and their physiological plasticity was assessed using gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence methods.TJB acclimation caused significant reductions in the maximum rate of carboxylation ( V Cmax ) and the maximum electron flow supporting ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate regeneration ( J max ) in all species, yet this downregulation had little effect on their light-saturated photosynthetic rate ( A sat ). Ginkgo was found to photorespire heavily under ambient conditions, while growth in low [O 2 ]:[CO 2 ] resulted in increased heat dissipation per reaction centre ( DI o / RC ), severe photodamage, as revealed by the species' decreased maximum efficiency of primary photochemistry ( F v / F m ) and decreased in situ photosynthetic electron flow ( Jsitu ).It is argued that the observed photodamage reflects the inability of Ginkgo to divert excess photosynthetic electron flow to sinks other than the downregulated C 3 and the diminished C 2 cycles under low [O 2 ]:[CO 2 ]. This finding, coupled with the remarkable physiological plasticity of the ferns, provides insights into the underlying mechanism of Ginkgoales' near extinction and ferns' proliferation as atmospheric [CO 2 ] increased to maximum levels across the TJB.
Project description:Photoacclimatory responses of the seagrass Zostera marina in the intertidal and subtidal zones were investigated by measuring chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters, photosynthetic pigments, leaf ?13C values, and shoot morphology in two bay systems. Intertidal plants had higher carotenoid concentrations than subtidal plants to avoid photodamage under excess light conditions during the day. The maximum relative electron transport rate (rETRmax) and minimum saturation irradiance (Ek) of the intertidal plants were higher than those of the subtidal plants, whereas photosynthetic efficiency (?) and maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) were higher in subtidal plants. The intertidal plants also had significantly greater Stern-Volmer non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) than that of the subtidal plants. These results suggest that the subtidal plants photoacclimated to use limited light more efficiently, and the intertidal plants exhibited photosynthetic responses to minimize photodamage at excess irradiance. The ?13C values of leaf tissues were more negative in the intertidal plants than those in the subtidal plants, suggesting that the intertidal plants used atmospheric or dissolved CO2 for photosynthesis during emersion. Effective quantum yield (?F/Fm´) in the intertidal plants decreased more slowly after emersion than that in the subtidal plants, indicating higher desiccation tolerance of the intertidal plants. The intertidal plants also recovered more rapidly from desiccation damage than the subtidal plants, suggesting photosynthetic adaptation to desiccation stress. The photosynthetic plasticity of Z. marina in response to variable environmental conditions most likely allows this species to occur in the intertidal and subtidal zones.
Project description:Photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism of higher plants need to be tightly regulated to prevent tissue damage during environmental changes. The intracellular position of chloroplasts changes due to a changing light regime. Chloroplast avoidance and accumulation response under high and low light, respectively, are well known phenomena, and deficiency of chloroplast movement has been shown to result in photodamage and reduced biomass accumulation. Yet, effects of chloroplast positioning on underlying metabolic regulation are less well understood. Here, we analysed photosynthesis together with metabolites and enzyme activities of the central carbohydrate metabolism during cold acclimation of the chloroplast unusual positioning 1 (chup1) mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana. We compared cold acclimation under ambient and low light and found that maximum quantum yield of PSII was significantly lower in chup1 than in Col-0 under both conditions. Our findings indicated that net CO<sub>2</sub> assimilation in chup1 is rather limited by biochemistry than by photochemistry. Further, cold-induced dynamics of sucrose phosphate synthase differed significantly between both genotypes. Together with a reduced rate of sucrose cycling derived from kinetic model simulations our study provides evidence for a central role of chloroplast positioning for photosynthetic and metabolic acclimation to low temperature.
Project description:Many photosynthetic microorganisms acclimate to CO(2) limited environments by induction and operation of CO(2)-concentrating mechanisms (CCMs). Despite their central role in CCM function, inorganic carbon (Ci) transport systems never have been identified in eukaryotic photosynthetic organisms. In the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a mutant, pmp1, was described in 1983 with deficiencies in Ci transport, and a Pmp1 protein-associated Ci uptake system has been proposed to be responsible for Ci uptake in low CO(2) (air level)-acclimated cells. However, even though pmp1 represents the only clear genetic link to Ci transport in microalgae and is one of only a very few mutants directly affecting the CCM itself, the identity of Pmp1 has remained unknown. Physiological analyses indicate that C. reinhardtii possesses multiple Ci transport systems responsible for acclimation to different levels of limiting CO(2) and that the Pmp1-associated transport system is required specifically for low (air level) CO(2) acclimation. In the current study, we identified and characterized a pmp1 allelic mutant, air dier 1 (ad1) that, like pmp1, cannot grow in low CO(2) (350 ppm) but can grow either in high CO(2) (5% CO(2)) or in very low CO(2) (<200 ppm). Molecular analyses revealed that the Ad1/Pmp1 protein is encoded by LciB, a gene previously identified as a CO(2)-responsive gene. LciB and three related genes in C. reinhardtii compose a unique gene family that encode four closely related, apparently soluble plastid proteins with no clearly identifiable conserved motifs.
Project description:There is a heated debate about the effect of global change on tropical forests. Many scientists predict large-scale tree mortality while others point to mitigating roles of CO2 fertilization and - the notoriously unknown - physiological trait acclimation of trees. In this opinion article we provided a first quantification of the potential of trait acclimation to mitigate the negative effects of warming on tropical canopy tree growth and survival. We applied a physiological tree growth model that incorporates trait acclimation through an optimization approach. Our model estimated the maximum effect of acclimation when trees optimize traits that are strongly plastic on a week to annual time scale (leaf photosynthetic capacity, total leaf area, stem sapwood area) to maximize carbon gain. We simulated tree carbon gain for temperatures (25-35°C) and ambient CO2 concentrations (390-800 ppm) predicted for the 21st century. Full trait acclimation increased simulated carbon gain by up to 10-20% and the maximum tolerated temperature by up to 2°C, thus reducing risks of tree death under predicted warming. Functional trait acclimation may thus increase the resilience of tropical trees to warming, but cannot prevent tree death during extremely hot and dry years at current CO2 levels. We call for incorporating trait acclimation in field and experimental studies of plant functional traits, and in models that predict responses of tropical forests to climate change.
Project description:Some of the most important effects of global change on coastal marine systems include increasing nutrient inputs and higher levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 280-400 nm), which could affect primary producers, a key trophic link to the functioning of marine food webs. However, interactive effects of both factors on the phytoplankton community have not been assessed for the Mediterranean Sea. An in situ factorial experiment, with two levels of ultraviolet solar radiation (UVR+PAR vs. PAR) and nutrients (control vs. P-enriched), was performed to evaluate single and UVR×P effects on metabolic, enzymatic, stoichiometric and structural phytoplanktonic variables. While most phytoplankton variables were not affected by UVR, dissolved phosphatase (APAEX) and algal P content increased in the presence of UVR, which was interpreted as an acclimation mechanism of algae to oligotrophic marine waters. Synergistic UVR×P interactive effects were positive on photosynthetic variables (i.e., maximal electron transport rate, ETRmax), but negative on primary production and phytoplankton biomass because the pulse of P unmasked the inhibitory effect of UVR. This unmasking effect might be related to greater photodamage caused by an excess of electron flux after a P pulse (higher ETRmax) without an efficient release of carbon as the mechanism to dissipate the reducing power of photosynthetic electron transport.
Project description:Light damages photosynthetic machinery, primarily photosystem II (PSII), and it results in photoinhibition. A new photodamage model, the two-step photodamage model, suggests that photodamage to PSII initially occurs at the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) by light energy absorbed by manganese and that the PSII reaction center is subsequently damaged by light energy absorbed by photosynthetic pigments due to the limitation of electrons to the PSII reaction center. However, it is still uncertain whether this model is applicable to photodamage to PSII under visible light as manganese absorbs visible light only weakly. In the present study, we identified the initial site of photodamage to PSII upon illumination of visible light using PSII membrane fragments isolated from spinach leaves. When PSII samples were exposed to visible light in the presence of an exogenous electron acceptor, both PSII total activity and the PSII reaction centre activity declined due to photodamage. The supplemental addition of an electron donor to the PSII reaction centre alleviated the decline of the reaction centre activity but not the PSII total activity upon the light exposure. Our results demonstrate that visible light damages OEC prior to photodamage to the PSII reaction center, consistent with two-step photodamage model.
Project description:Experimental drought is well documented to induce a decline in photosynthetic capacity. However, if given time to acclimate to low water availability, the photosynthetic responses of plants to low soil moisture content may differ from those found in short-term experiments. This study aims to test whether plants acclimate to long-term water stress by modifying the functional relationships between photosynthetic traits and water stress, and whether species of contrasting habitat differ in their degree of acclimation.Three Eucalyptus taxa from xeric and riparian habitats were compared with regard to their gas exchange responses under short- and long-term drought. Photosynthetic parameters were measured after 2 and 4 months of watering treatments, namely field capacity or partial drought. At 4 months, all plants were watered to field capacity, then watering was stopped. Further measurements were made during the subsequent 'drying-down', continuing until stomata were closed.Two months of partial drought consistently reduced assimilation rate, stomatal sensitivity parameters (g1), apparent maximum Rubisco activity (V'(cmax)) and maximum electron transport rate (J'(max)). Eucalyptus occidentalis from the xeric habitat showed the smallest decline in V'(cmax) and J'(max); however, after 4 months, V'(cmax) and J'(max) had recovered. Species differed in their degree of V'(cmax) acclimation. Eucalyptus occidentalis showed significant acclimation of the pre-dawn leaf water potential at which the V'(cmax) and 'true' V(cmax) (accounting for mesophyll conductance) declined most steeply during drying-down.The findings indicate carbon loss under prolonged drought could be over-estimated without accounting for acclimation. In particular, (1) species from contrasting habitats differed in the magnitude of V'(cmax) reduction in short-term drought; (2) long-term drought allowed the possibility of acclimation, such that V'(cmax) reduction was mitigated; (3) xeric species showed a greater degree of V'(cmax) acclimation; and (4) photosynthetic acclimation involves hydraulic adjustments to reduce water loss while maintaining photosynthesis.
Project description:Balancing of leaf carbohydrates is a key process for maximising crop performance in elevated CO2 environments. With the aim of testing the role of the carbon sink-source relationship under different CO2 conditions, we performed two experiments with two barley genotypes (Harrington and RCSL-89) exposed to changing CO2. In Experiment 1, the genotypes were exposed to 400 and 700 ppm CO2. Elevated CO2 induced photosynthetic acclimation in Harrington that was linked with the depletion of Rubisco protein. In contrast, a higher peduncle carbohydrate-storage capacity in RSCL-89 was associated with a better balance of leaf carbohydrates that could help to maximize the photosynthetic capacity under elevated CO2. In Experiment 2, plants that were grown at 400 ppm or 700 ppm CO2 for 5 weeks were switched to 700 ppm or 400 ppm CO2, respectively. Raising CO2 to 700 ppm increased photosynthetic rates with a reduction in leaf carbohydrate content and an improvement in N assimilation. The increase in nitrate content was associated with up-regulation of genes of protein transcripts of photosynthesis and N assimilation that favoured plant performance under elevated CO2. Finally, decreasing the CO2 from 700 ppm to 400 ppm revealed that both stomatal closure and inhibited expression of light-harvesting proteins negatively affected photosynthetic performance and plant growth.
Project description:Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized mode of photosynthesis characterized by improved water use efficiency mediated by major nocturnal CO<sub>2</sub> fixation. Due to its inherent metabolic plasticity CAM represents a successful physiological strategy for plant adaptation to abiotic stress. The present study reports on the impact of drought stress and different light intensities (PPFD 50 and 200 ?mol m<sup>-2</sup> s<sup>-1</sup>) on the photosynthetic performance of the obligate CAM orchid <i>Phalaenopsis</i> "Edessa" by integrating diel gas exchange patterns with assessments of the light reactions by analyzing fast chlorophyll <i>a</i> fluorescence induction. Parameters such as PI<sub>abs</sub> (performance index), different energy fluxes per active reaction centre (RC) reflecting the electron flow from photosystem II to photosystem I and the energetic communication between PSII complexes defined as connectivity were considered for the first time in a CAM plant. A higher PS II connectivity for plants grown under low light (<i>p</i> ? 0.51) compared to plants grown under high light (<i>p</i> ? 0.31) brought about similar specific energy fluxes of light absorbance, dissipation and processing through the electron transport chain, irrespective of the light treatment. With a 25% higher maximum quantum yield and comparable biomass formation, low light grown plants indeed proved to process light energy more efficiently compared to high light grown plants. The performance index was identified as a very reliable and sensitive parameter to indicate the onset and progress of drought stress. Under restricted CO<sub>2</sub> availability (due to closed stomata) leaves showed higher energy dissipation and partial inactivation of PSII reaction centres to reduce the energy input to the electron transport chain and as such aid in avoiding overexcitation and photodamage. Especially during CAM idling there is a discrepancy between continuous input of light energy but severely reduced availability of both water and CO<sub>2</sub>, which represents the ultimate electron acceptor. Taken together, our results show a unique flexibility of CAM plants to optimize the light reactions under different environmental conditions in a dual way by either attenuating or increasing energy flux.
Project description:Nitrogen is a dominant regulator of vegetation dynamics, net primary production, and terrestrial carbon cycles; however, most ecosystem models use a rather simplistic relationship between leaf nitrogen content and photosynthetic capacity. Such an approach does not consider how patterns of nitrogen allocation may change with differences in light intensity, growing-season temperature and CO(2) concentration. To account for this known variability in nitrogen-photosynthesis relationships, we develop a mechanistic nitrogen allocation model based on a trade-off of nitrogen allocated between growth and storage, and an optimization of nitrogen allocated among light capture, electron transport, carboxylation, and respiration. The developed model is able to predict the acclimation of photosynthetic capacity to changes in CO(2) concentration, temperature, and radiation when evaluated against published data of V(c,max) (maximum carboxylation rate) and J(max) (maximum electron transport rate). A sensitivity analysis of the model for herbaceous plants, deciduous and evergreen trees implies that elevated CO(2) concentrations lead to lower allocation of nitrogen to carboxylation but higher allocation to storage. Higher growing-season temperatures cause lower allocation of nitrogen to carboxylation, due to higher nitrogen requirements for light capture pigments and for storage. Lower levels of radiation have a much stronger effect on allocation of nitrogen to carboxylation for herbaceous plants than for trees, resulting from higher nitrogen requirements for light capture for herbaceous plants. As far as we know, this is the first model of complete nitrogen allocation that simultaneously considers nitrogen allocation to light capture, electron transport, carboxylation, respiration and storage, and the responses of each to altered environmental conditions. We expect this model could potentially improve our confidence in simulations of carbon-nitrogen interactions and the vegetation feedbacks to climate in Earth system models.