Green light drives photosynthesis in mosses

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Temperate forests are characterised by variable light quality (i.e. spectral composition of light) at or near the forest floor. These understory environments have a high concentration of green light, as red and blue light are preferentially absorbed by upper canopy leaves. Understory species may be well-adapted for using green light to drive photosynthesis. Angiosperms have been shown to use green light for photosynthesis, but this ability has not been demonstrated in shade-dwelling bryophytes. In this study, net photosynthetic rate (P ) of three temperate understory species of moss (Dichodontium pellucidum (Hedw.) Schimp., Leucobryum albidum (Brid. ex P.Beauv) Lindb. and Amblystegium serpens (Hedw.) Schimp.) was measured under green, red + blue, and red + blue + green light to assess green light use efficiency. All three species were capable of photosynthesising beyond their respiratory demands using solely green light, with higher green light use efficiency measured in plants collected from areas with greater canopy cover, suggesting growth in a green light concentrated environment increases green light use efficiency. Each species was also collected from sites differing in their degree of canopy cover and grown under three light treatments (high light, low light, and green light). Photosynthetic efficiency (chlorophyll fluorescence), tissue nitrogen and carbon isotope concentrations were assessed after a short growth period. Growth conditions had little effect on leaf chemistry and monochromatic green light did not significantly degrade photosynthetic efficiency. This study provides the first evidence to date of positive net ‘green light photosynthesis’ in mosses. N

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Journal of Bryology

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