Although anthocyanin accumulation is common among intertidal seagrasses in the tropical bioregions, its physiological role remains to be elucidated. While several works suggested that leaf anthocyanin plays a photoprotective role, others concluded that it compensates for lower capacity of other photoprotective mechanisms. To test the photoprotection hypothesis, we assessed the physiological responses of the seagrasses, Halophila ovalis and Cymodocea rotundata, which exhibit green (anthocyanin poor) and red (anthocyanin rich) plants in the same meadow. Diurnal variations in maximum quantum yield showed similar level of photoinhibition between the green and red leaves. Greater effective quantum yield and chlorophyll b/a ratio detected in the red leaves of H. ovalis suggest shade acclimation. The red leaves of C. rotundata had lower xanthophyll content and de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle than the green leaves while the red leaves of H. ovalis contained higher xanthophyll content than the green leaves. The red leaves of C. rotundata displayed higher activity of ascorbate peroxidase and lower total reactive oxygen species, whereas, no significant difference in oxidative stress-related parameters between green and red leaves of H. ovalis was detected. Our results demonstrate that although anthocyanin appears to contribute to photoprotection by acting as sunscreen, it does not confer greater tolerance to high irradiance in H. ovalis and C. rotundata and anthocyanic seagrasses are not limited in their capacity for other photoprotective mechanisms. It is concluded that green-leafed and red-leafed seagrasses cope equally well with high light in their natural settings by utilizing different combinations of photoprotective mechanisms.
Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 18, 2017
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