Community-wide consequences of variation in photoprotective physiology among prairie plants

S. Kothari, J. Cavender-Bares, K. Bitan, A. S. Verhoeven, R. Wang, R. A. Montgomery, J. A. Gamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Photoprotective pigments, like those involved in the xanthophyll cycle, help plants avoid oxidative damage caused by excess radiation. This study aims to characterize a spectrum of strategies used to cope with light stress by a diverse group of prairie plants at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (East Bethel, MN). We find that concentrations of photosynthetic and photoprotective pigments are highly correlated with one another and with other physiological traits across species and over time, and tend to be phylogenetically conserved. During a period of water limitation, plots dominated by species with constitutively low pigment concentrations showed a greater decline in mean reflectance and photochemical reflectance index, a reflectance-based indicator of photoprotective physiology, possibly due to alterations in canopy structure. Our findings suggest two contrasting strategies for withstanding light stress: (1) Using photoprotective pigments to dissipate excess energy, and (2) altering canopy structure to minimize absorbance of excess radiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-467
Number of pages13
JournalPhotosynthetica
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Keywords

  • drought
  • light-use efficiency
  • phenology
  • photoinhibition
  • trait covariance
  • water-use efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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