How and why does photosynthetic rate vary with light availability?
The less light, the less photosynthesis. The light level must be above the Light Compensation Point (LCP) for the carbon uptake to exceed the carbon loss in respiration. But it is also possible for photosynthesis to become light saturated, at values of PAR above the Light Saturation Point, whereupon it maxes out. However some plants extremely adapted to shady environments may experience photoinhibition, where overbearing light causes photosynthetic rates to decline as well.