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Photochemistry, Remotely Sensed Physiological Reflectance Index and De-Epoxidation State of the Xanthophyll Cycle in Quercus coccifera under Intense Drought

José Javier Peguero-Pina, Fermín Morales, Jaume Flexas, Eustaquio Gil-Pelegrín and Ismael Moya
Oecologia
Vol. 156, No. 1 (May, 2008), pp. 1-11
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40213222
Page Count: 11
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Photochemistry, Remotely Sensed Physiological Reflectance Index and De-Epoxidation State of the Xanthophyll Cycle in Quercus coccifera under Intense Drought
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Abstract

Quercus coccifera L. is a Mediterranean sclerophyllous shrub with a high capacity to resist intense drought stress. Therefore, it could be used in the study of physiological changes suffered by plants at very low water potentials. A remote sensing sensor was used to measure continuously the physiological reflectance index (PRI; defined as the changes in reflectance at 531 nm with respect to those at 570 nm; PRI = [(R531 - R570)/(R531 + R570)] at canopy level and under field conditions in an artificial carpet of seedlings of Q. coccifera during a drought cycle. Correlations between leaf level- measured chlorophyll fluorescence parameters as well as the de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle [(A + Z)/(V + A + Z)] and canopy level-measured PRI were reasonably good (R 2 = 0.57-0.63, P< 0.01), and quite interesting for water stress remote sensing purposes. The instrument's temporal resolution allowed us to follow the rapid response of PRI to changing photosynthetic active radiation, and to resolve, in response to cloud- induced changes in light intensity, a fast and a slow PRI component. We report the disappearance of the rapid one under conditions of intense drought in response to a sudden increase in light intensity. The underlying photoprotection mechanisms that Q. coccifera shows in response to intense drought stress periods seem to be related to the existence of a low intrathylakoid lumenal pH at the end of the drought cycle. Under intense drought, these mechanisms allow this species to avoid oxidative damage, which was evidenced by the maintenance of an unaltered photosynthetic pigment composition and constant photosystem II efficiency in the mornings. It is concluded that, contrary to early reports, PRI is a sensible, indirect, non-destructive water stress indicator, even in plants experiencing intense drought.

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