||It has long been suspected that photoprotective mechanisms in green algae are similar to those in seed plants. However, exceptions have recently surfaced among aquatic and marine green algae in several taxonomic classes. Green algae are highly diverse genetically, falling into 13 named classes, and they are diverse ecologically, with many lineages including members from freshwater, marine, and terrestrial habitats. Genetically similar species living in dramatically different environments are potentially a rich source of information about variations in photoprotective function. Using aquatic and desert-derived species from three classes of green algae, we examined the induction of photoprotection under high light, exploring the relationship between nonphotochemical quenching and the xanthophyll cycle. In liquid culture, behavior of aquatic Entransia fimbriata (Klebsormidiophyceae) generally matched patterns observed in seed plants. Nonphotochemical quenching was lowest after overnight dark adaptation, increased with light intensity, and the extent of nonphotochemical quenching correlated with the extent of deepoxidation of xanthophyll cycle pigments. In contrast, overnight dark adaptation did not minimize nonphotochemical quenching in the other species studied: desert Klebsormidium sp. (Klebsormidiophyceae), desert and aquatic Cylindrocystis sp. (Zygnematophyceae), and desert Stichococcus sp. (Trebouxiophyceae). Instead, exposure to low light reduced nonphotochemical quenching below dark-adapted levels. De-epoxidation of xanthophyll cycle pigments paralleled light-induced changes in nonphotochemical quenching for species within Klebsormidiophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae, but not Zygnematophyceae. Inhibition of violaxanthin-zeaxanthin conversion by dithiothreitol reduced high-light-associated nonphotochemical quenching in all species (Zygnematophyceae the least), indicating that zeaxanthin can contribute to photoprotection as in seed plants but to different extents depending on taxon or lineage.