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Photosynthesis adaptability

Photosynthesis is the energetic process by which organisms synthesize organic matter from sunlight on Earth. Its O2 emissions have profoundly transformed the Earth's atmosphere. If a similar process occurs on an extra-solar planet it can make the composition of its atmosphere very special. The life could then be identified only through atmospheric analysis. But can photosynthesis occur on a planet if the radiation of its central star is very different from that of the Sun. What is the limits where photosynthesis able to adapt?

We will experimentally study how pigment and photosynthetic organisms can adapt to a stellar radiation very different from that of the Sun (in particular M-dwarfs radiation). Photosynthetic pigments, if present in sufficient amounts, could be excellent bio-markers because, as a consequence of natural selection, their signature should be optimized relative to the stellar radiation spectrum.

Submitted on January 25, 2024

Updated on January 25, 2024