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Influence of structural colour on the photoprotective mechanism in the gametophyte phase of the red alga Chondrus crispus.

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Fleitas, Ariel García 
Arnould-Pétré, Margot Minju  ORCID logo


Marine life is populated by a huge diversity of organisms with an incredible range of colour. While structural colour mechanisms and functions are usually well studied in marine animal species, there is a huge knowledge gap regarding the marine macroalgae (red, green and brown seaweeds) that have structural coloration and the biological significance of this phenomenon in these photosynthetic organisms. Here we show that structural colour in the gametophyte life history phase of the red alga Chondrus crispus plays an important role as a photoprotective mechanism in synergy with the other pigments present. In particular, we have demonstrated that blue structural coloration attenuates the more energetic light while simultaneously favouring green and red light harvesting through the external antennae (phycobilisomes) which possess an intensity-dependent photoprotection mechanism. These insights into the relationship between structural colour and photosynthetic light management further our understanding of the mechanisms involved.


Peer reviewed: True

Publication status: Published

Funder: International Training Network ‘Bio-inspired and bionic materials for enhanced photosynthesis’ (BEEP) funded by Horizon Europe: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions; Grant(s): 860125


energy transfer, molecular mechanism, photoprotection, phycobilisomes, time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy, Animals, Chondrus, Color, Germ Cells, Plant, Photosynthesis, Red Light

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J R Soc Interface

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The Royal Society
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (860125)