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Title Photosynthetic Performance of Tidally Flooded Spartina Alterniflora Salt Marshes
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Spartina alterniflora has a distinct flood-adapted morphology, and its physiological responses are likely to vary with differences in tidal submergence. To understand these responses, we examined the impacts of tidal inundation on the efficiency of Photosystem II (φPSII) photochemistry and leaf-level photosynthesis at different canopy heights through a combination of in situ chlorophyll fluorescence (ChlF), incident photosynthetically active radiation, and tide levels. Our result showed small declines (7%-8.3%) in φPSII for air-exposed leaves when the bottom canopies were tidally submerged. Submerged leaves produced large reductions (30.3%-41%) in φPSII. Our results suggest that when submerged, PSII reaction centers in S. alterniflora leaves are still active and able to transfer electrons, but only at ∼20% of the typical daily rate. We attribute this reduction in φPSII to the decrease in the fraction of "open" PSII reaction centers (10% of the total) and the stomatal conductance rate caused by the tidal submergence. To our knowledge, this flooding induced leaf-level reduction of φPSII for S. alterniflora in field settings has not been reported before. Our findings suggest that canopy-level φPSII is dependent on the proportion of submerged versus emerged leaves and highlight the complexities involved in estimating the photosynthetic efficiency of tidal marshes.

Contributors Lishen Mao, Deepak Mishra, Peter Hawman, Caroline Narron, Jessica L. O'Connell and David L. Cotten

Mao, L., Mishra, D., Hawman, P., Narron, C., O'Connell, J.L. and Cotten, D.L. 2023. Photosynthetic Performance of Tidally Flooded Spartina Alterniflora Salt Marshes. JGR Biogeosciences. 128(3). (DOI: 10.1029/2022JG007161)

Key Words chlorophyll fluorescence, PAR, photosynthetically active radiation, Spartina alternifora, Student Publication
File Date 2023
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.