Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 47–51 | Cite as

Low-temperature limitation of primary photosynthetic processes in Antarctic lichens Umbilicaria antarctica and Xanthoria elegans

  • Miloš Barták
  • Peter Váczi
  • Josef Hájek
  • Jerzy Smykla
Original Paper


Temperature response curves of chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters were used to assess minimum sub-zero temperature assuring functioning of photosynthetic photochemical processes in photosystem II (PS II) of Antarctic lichens. Umbilicaria Antarctica and Xanthoria elegans were measured within the temperature range from −20 to +10°C by a fluorometric imaging system. For potential (F V/F M) and actual (Φ II) quantum yields of photochemical processes the minimum temperature was found to be between −10 and −20°C. Non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of absorbed excitation energy increased with temperature drop reaching maximum NPQ at −15°C. Image analysis revealed intrathalline heterogeneity of chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters with temperature drop. Temperature response of Φ II exhibited an S-curve with pronounced intrathalline differences in X. elegans. The same relation was linear with only limited intrathalline difference in U. antarctica. The results showed that Antarctic lichen species were well adapted to sub-zero temperatures and capable of performing primary photosynthesis at −15°C.


Chlorophyll fluorescence imaging Extreme temperature Freezing Non-photochemical quenching 



The research of stress physiology of Antarctic lichen photosynthesis was supported by projects No. 522/03/0754 (Grant Agency of the Czech Republic), KONTAKT No. ME 945 provided by the Czech Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth and partly also from grant No. 2P04F00127 provided by the Polish State Committee for Scientific Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miloš Barták
    • 1
  • Peter Váczi
    • 1
  • Josef Hájek
    • 1
  • Jerzy Smykla
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant Physiology and Anatomy, Institute of Experimental BiologyMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Biodiversity, Institute of Nature ConservationPolish Academy of SciencesKrakowPoland

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