Seasonal Photoacclimation and Vulnerability Patterns in the Brown Macroalga Lessonia spicata (Ochrophyta)

Fluctuations in solar radiation are one of the key factors affecting productivity and survival in habitat forming coastal macroalgae, in this regard, photoacclimation has a direct impact on the vulnerability and the capacity of seaweed to withstand, for instance, radiation excess. Here, we study ecophysiological responses through photosynthetic activity measurements under time-dependent (one year) fluctuations in solar radiation in the brown macroalga L. spicata. The responses presented seasonal patterns, with an increase in photosynthetic capacity during summer, expressed in greater maximal electron transport rate (ETRmax) and diminished thermal dissipation (NPQmax). Moreover, we studied photoprotective compounds (phenolic compounds) and total antioxidant capacity, which demonstrated an increase during periods of high solar radiation. In addition, content of photosynthetic pigment (Chla, Chlc and Carotenoids) increased under greater solar irradiance. The L. spicata can accumulate as reservoir photoprotective and antioxidant substances to withstand periods of high solar irradiance. All ecophysiological and biochemical responses in L. spicata indicate high photoacclimation and low vulnerability in the species, especially during with greater levels of solar irradiance.
Lessonia spicata, Brown macroalgae, Photoprotective compounds, Antioxidant capacity