Seagrass meadows across north-eastern Australia, survive a range of environmental conditions in coastal bays, reefs, estuarine and deepwater habitats through adaptation of a range of structural, morphological and physiological features. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of spatial features (habitat type, site and depth) and photon flux on the photosynthetic performance of 11 tropical seagrass species. Pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry was used to generate rapid light curves from which measures of maximal electron transport rate (ETR max), photosynthetic efficiency ( α), saturating irradiance ( Ek) and effective quantum yield (Δ F/ Fm') were derived. The amount of light absorbed by leaves (absorption factor) was also determined for each population. In intertidal habitats many seagrass species exhibited typical sun-type responses with a close coupling of both ETR max and Ek with photon flux. Photosynthetic performance ranged from minima in Thalassodendron ciliatum to maxima in Syringodium isoetifolium. The absence of a coupling between photosynthetic performance and photon flux in subtidal populations was most likely due to highly variable light climates and possible light attenuation, and hence the photo-biology of estuarine and deepwater seagrasses exhibited photosynthetic responses indicative of light limitation. In contrast seagrass species from shallow reef and coastal habitats for the most part exhibited light saturation characteristics. Of all the variables examined ETR max, Ek and Δ F/ Fm' were most responsive to changing light climates and provide reliable physiological indicators of real-time photosynthetic performance of tropical seagrasses under different light conditions.