Laboratory and field measurements of water relations, photosynthetic parameters, and hydration traits in macrolichens in a tropical lower montane rainforest in Thailand

Boonpeng C., Pischom M., Butrid P., Noikrad S. & Boonpragob K.
J Plant Res
2024: 3-18
Ecophysiological studies of lichens in tropical Asia are rare, and additional studies can increase the understanding of lichen life in this region. The main aim of this study was to observe the relationships between water availability and photosynthetic parameters, as well as hydration trait parameters, in macrolichens during the rainy and dry seasons in a tropical forest. A total of 11 lichen species growing in a lower montane rainforest in Thailand were collected and studied. The results clearly showed that the specific thallus mass (STM), net photosynthetic rate (Pn), the potential quantum yield of primary photochemistry (Fv/Fm), chlorophyll content, and carotenoid content of almost all lichens were lower in the dry season than in the rainy season. Field measurements in the dry season revealed that only the foliose chlorolichen Parmotrema tinctorum was metabolically active and exhibited slight carbon assimilation. In the rainy season, all lichens started their photosynthesis in the early morning, reached maximal values, declined, and ceased when the thalli desiccated. The photosynthetically active period of the lichens was approximately 2-3 h in the morning, and the activities of the cyanolichens ended approximately 30 min after the chlorolichens. The hydration trait parameters, including the STM, maximal water content (WC(max)), and water holding capacity (WHC), were greater in the cyanolichens. In addition, the maximal Pn (Pn(max)) and optimal water content (WC(opt)) for Pn were also greater in the cyanolichens, but the maximal Fv/Fm (Fv/Fm(max)) was lower. The cyanolichens compensated for their inability to use humid air to restore photosynthesis by having higher water content and storage, higher photosynthetic rates, and longer photosynthetically active periods. This study provides additional insights into lichen ecophysiology in tropical forests that can be useful for lichen conservation. CO2 gas exchange, Chlorolichen, Cyanolichen, Ecophysiology, Photosystem II, Poikilohydric organism, Water stress
Thursday, 02 May 2024 16:19