Anthropogenic stratospheric ozone depletion causes an increase of UV-B radiation impinging on the earth surface, which is a threat to plants not adapted to higher UV-B irradiances. Investigations were undertaken with aquatic plants from New Zealand, where UV-irradiances are naturally higher due to the southern latitude, to compare with former results of polar species. The experiments reported in this study were undertaken with plants collected from different lakes of the South Island, with different UV transparencies. Photoinhibition was induced under controlled conditions using a sun simulator, which mimicked the natural underwater radiation spectrum. Photosynthetic activity during high light stress, and during recovery in dim light, was determined in vivo by measuring fluorescence changes, using a PAM fluorometer device. A comparison of different species showed that the extent to which UV causes an additional decrease of photosynthetic performance during high light stress varies according to the depth of growth and UV transparency of the water body. This observation fits with previous studies. However, a new finding was that some species were even more strongly inhibited when UV-B was filtered out of the simulated sun spectrum, indicating a supporting effect of the short UVR wavelength range against photoinhibition. These results were also confirmed by field experiments under natural radiation conditions. Thus, UV-B does not solely cause negative effects on photosynthesis, but it may even support recovery processes in aquatic plants adapted to a high UV-radiation environment. The latter is in contrast to earlier studies, in which UV-B radiation was considered causing only harmful effects on photosynthesis of aquatic plants.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL4-Response of higher marine life to change