The pattern of photosynthetic response and adaptation to changing light conditions in lichens is linked to their ecological range

Osyczka P. & Myśliwa-Kurdziel B.
Photosynthesis Research
157: 21–35
Epiphytic lichens constitute an important component of biodiversity in both deforested and forest ecosystems. Widespread occurrence is the domain of generalist lichens or those that prefer open areas. While, many stenoecious lichens find shelter only in a shaded interior of forests. Light is one of the factors known to be responsible for lichen distribution. Nevertheless, the effect of light intensity on photosynthesis of lichen photobionts remain largely unknown. We investigated photosynthesis in lichens with different ecological properties in relation to light as the only parameter modified during the experiments. The aim was to find links between this parameter and habitat requirements of a given lichen. We applied the methods based on a saturating light pulse and modulated light to perform comprehensive analyses of fast and slow chlorophyll fluorescence transient (OJIP and PSMT) combined with quenching analysis. We also examined the rate of CO(2) assimilation. Common or generalist lichens, i.e. Hypogymnia physodes, Flavoparmelia caperata and Parmelia sulcata, are able to adapt to a wide range of light intensity. Moreover, the latter species, which prefers open areas, dissipates the excess energy most efficiently. Conversely, Cetrelia cetrarioides considered an old-growth forest indicator, demonstrates definitely lower range of energy dissipation than other species, although it assimilates CO(2) efficiently both at low and high light. We conclude that functional plasticity of the thylakoid membranes of photobionts largely determines the dispersal abilities of lichens and light intensity is one of the most important factors determining the specificity of a species to a given habitat. Key-words: Chlorophyll fluorescence, Fluorescence transient, Lichen ecophysiology, Non-photochemical quenching, Photobiont, Tolerance range.
Wednesday, 21 June 2023 16:24