Ecophysiology and genetic structure of polar versus temperate populations of the lichen Cetraria aculeata
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- Domaschke, S., Vivas, M., Sancho, L.G. et al. Oecologia (2013) 173: 699. doi:10.1007/s00442-013-2670-3
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We studied polar and temperate samples of the lichen Cetrariaaculeata to investigate whether genetical differences between photobionts are correlated with physiological properties of the lichen holobiont. Net photosynthesis and dark respiration (DR) at different temperatures (from 0 to 30 °C) and photon flux densities (from 0 to 1,200 μmol m−2 s−1) were studied for four populations of Cetrariaaculeata. Samples were collected from maritime Antarctica, Svalbard, Germany and Spain, representing different climatic situations. Sequencing of the photobiont showed that the investigated samples fall in the polar and temperate clade described in Fernández-Mendoza et al. (Mol Ecol 20:1208–1232, 2011). Lichens with photobionts from these clades differ in their temperature optimum for photosynthesis, maximal net photosynthesis, maximal DR and chlorophyll content. Maximal net photosynthesis was much lower in Antarctica and Svalbard than in Germany and Spain. The difference was smaller when rates were expressed by chlorophyll content. The same is true for the temperature optima of polar (11 °C) and temperate (15 and 17 °C) lichens. Our results indicate that lichen mycobionts may adapt or acclimate to local environmental conditions either by selecting algae from regional pools or by regulating algal cell numbers (chlorophyll content) within the thallus.