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Erik Jeppesen

Differential photosynthetic and morphological adaptations to low light affect depth distribution of two submersed macrophytes in lakes

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  • Jianfeng Chen, Chinese Acad Sci, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Science & Technology of China, Univ Sci & Technol China, Key Lab Res Galaxies & Cosmol
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  • Te Cao, Chinese Acad Sci, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Inst Hydrobiol, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol, Donghu Expt Stn Lake Ecosyst, Collaborat Innovat Ctr Recovery & Reconstruct Deg, Anhui Normal Univ, Anhui Normal University, Coll Life Sci
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  • Xiaolin Zhang, Anhui Normal Univ, Anhui Normal University, Coll Life Sci
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  • Yilong Xi, Anhui Normal Univ, Anhui Normal University, Coll Life Sci
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  • Leyi Ni, Anhui Normal Univ, Anhui Normal University, Coll Life Sci
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  • Erik Jeppesen

To evaluate the relative importance of photosynthetic versus morphological adaptations of submersed macrophytes to low light intensity in lakes, rapid light curves (RLCs), morphological parameters, relative growth rate (RGR), clonal reproduction and abundance of two submersed macrophytes (Potamogeton maackianus and Vallisneria natans) were examined under 2.8%, 7.1%, 17.1% and 39.5% ambient light in a field and outdoor experimental study. The plants increased their initial slope of RLCs (alpha) and decreased their minimum saturating irradiance (E-k) and maximum relative electron transport rate (ETRm) of RLCs under low light stress, but V. natans was more sensitive in RLCs than P. maackianus. Accordingly, the RGR, plant height and abundance of P. maackianus were higher in the high light regimes (shallow water) but lower in the low light regimes than those of V. natans. At the 2.8% ambient light, V. natans produced ramets and thus fulfilled its population expansion, in contrast to P. maackianus. The results revealed that P. maackianus as a canopy-former mainly elongated its shoot length towards the water surface to compensate for the low light conditions, however, it became limited in severe low light stress conditions. V. natans as a rosette adapted to low light stress mainly through photosynthetic adjustments and superior to severely low light than shoot elongation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34028
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016

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