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Tradeoff between shade adaptation and mitigation of photoinhibition in leaves of Quercus mongolica and Acer mono acclimated to deep shade

Kitao, M., Lei, T.T., Koike, T., Tobita, H., Maruyama, Y.
Tree physiology 2006 v.26 no.4 pp. 441-448
tree growth, heat emissions, carbon dioxide, forest trees, shade tolerance, gas exchange, Quercus mongolica, photoinhibition, light intensity, electron transfer, leaves, Japan
We investigated susceptibility to photoinhibition in leaves acclimated to different light regimes in intermediately shade-tolerant Japanese oak (Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Turcz. var. crispula (Blume) Ohashi) and shade-tolerant Japanese maple (Acer mono Maxim. var. glabrum (Lev. et Van't.) Hara), to elucidate adaptability to gap formation in leaves differing in shade acclimation. We hypothesized that there is a tradeoff between shade adaptation and capacity to mitigate photoinhibition associated with leaf morphology. We simultaneously measured chlorophyll fluorescence and gas exchange in seedlings that had been grown in full sunlight (open), 10% of full sun (moderate shade) and 5% of full sun (deep shade). Shade-tolerant A. mono adapted to deep shade through changes in leaf morphology, lowering its leaf mass per area (LMA), but Q. mongolica showed little change in LMA between moderate and deep shade. Photochemical quenching (q(P)) did not differ between species in full sunlight and moderate shade; however, in deep shade, q(P) of Q. mongolica was higher than that of A. mono, suggesting that Q. mongolica grown in deep shade is less susceptible to photoinhibition at gap formation. This is consistent with the finding that chronic photoinhibition 3 days after the transfer to full sunlight, indicated by the decrease in maximum photochemical efficiency, F(v)/F(m), at predawn, was less in deep-shade-grown Q. mongolica than in deep shade-grown A. mono. In deep shade, the electron transport rate (ETR) of Q. mongolica was higher than that of A. mono, whereas thermal energy dissipation through photosystem II antennae, indicated by non-photochemical quenching, was lower in Q. mongolica than in A. mono. In deep shade, the greater ETR capacity in Q. mongolica in association with higher LMA and higher leaf N content could contribute to maintaining high q(P) and mitigating photoinhibition. These results indicate that, by maintaining a high electron transport capacity even in deep shade, the gap-dependent and intermediate-shade-tolerant Q. mongolica trades improved shade adaptation for higher growth potential when a gap event occurs.