Responses of Rainforest Understorey Plants to Excess Light during Sunflecks
Jenny R. Watling, Sharon A. Robinson, Ian E. Woodrow and C. Barry Osmond
Australian Journal of Plant Physiology
24(1) 17 - 25
Responses of Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) G. Don, Castanospora alphandii (F. Muell.) F. Muell. and Alpinia hylandii R. Smith, growing in a tropical rainforest understorey, to excess light during sunflecks were investigated using chlorophyll fluorescence techniques and by analysing xanthophyll cycle activity. A fourth species, the pioneerOmalanthus novo-guineensis (Warb.) Schum., growing in a small gap, was also studied. In all three understorey species there were large and rapid decreases in the proportion of open Photosystem II (PSII) centres, as indicated by qP, on illumination with saturating light and a concurrent increase in non-photochemical quenching. qP remained low (< 0.4) throughout the period of illumination (~15 min), although it did increase gradually, probably reflecting photosynthetic induction. Sustained declines (up to 120 min) in quantum yield, indicated by Fv/Fm, occurred in all three understorey species following exposure to saturating Photon flux density (PFD) during sunflecks. When &phis;PSII was monitored during sunflecks it was found to be very sensitive to changes in PFD, declining rapidly with even modest rises in the latter. There was rapid and continuing net conversion of violaxanthin (V) to antheraxanthin plus zeaxanthin (A+Z) on exposure of A. macrorrhiza and C. alphandii to saturating sunflecks. On returning to low light A. macrorrhiza retained its high levels of A+Z for up to 60 min, while C. alphandii rapidly converted back to V. O. novo- guineensis responded to high light by changing its leaf angle to reduce interception and showed no indication of photoinhibition during or after exposure.
Full text doi:10.1071/PP96074
© CSIRO 1997