Seasonal Differences in Photochemical Efficiency and Chlorophyll and Carotenoid Contents in Six Mediterranean Shrub Species under Field Conditions
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The effects of summer and winter stress on the chlorophyll and carotenoid contents and photosystem 2 efficiency were examined in six Mediterranean scrub species. These six species belong to two different plant functional types: drought semi-deciduous (Halimium halimifolium L., Rosmarinus officinalis L., Erica scoparia L.) and evergreen sclerophylls (Juniperus phoenicea L., Pistacia lentiscus L., Myrtus communis L.). Two sites with different water availability were chosen. In the xerophytic site, despite they belong to two different functional types, R. officinalis and J. phoenicea showed a similar response. These were the most affected species in summer. H. halimifolium showed optimal values of Fv/Fm and non-significant seasonal changes in xanthophyll content. In the mesic site, E. scoparia and M. communis were apparently the most affected species by winter climatic conditions. P. lentiscus presented a pattern similar to H. halimifolium, except for elevated F0 values. In all the studied species, lutein plus zeaxanthin content was negatively correlated with Fv/Fm in summer and with leaf water potential, thus indicating that the thermal dissipation of energy was a general pattern for all species. Under stress, plant response is more species-specific than dependent on its functional type.
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