The photosynthetic performance of mangrove Rhizophora mucronata seedlings grown under seasonally full light (HL), 50 % shade (ML), and 80 % shade (LL) conditions was characterized by gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence. The carboxylation efficiency significantly affected the seasonal change of the photosynthetic capacity. Temperature and light might have synergic effect on the carboxylation efficiency. The photosynthetic rate (PN) of R. mucronata seedlings under shade regimes, however, could not be attributed to variability in chlorophyll, Cᵢ, ΦPSII, ETR or qP values but more to differences in carboxylation efficiency, gmax, and Emax. HL and ML plants had higher PN, gs and E than the LL ones. Nevertheless, LL leaves exhibited low photoinhibition susceptibility. The high non-photochemical quenching in HL leaves may show that applied light intensity probably exceeded the photosynthetic capability. The findings indicate that ML treatments provided the best condition to obtain such carbon fixation capacity.