, Volume 233, Issue 2, pp 333–342 | Cite as

Do lichens have “memory” of their native nitrogen environment?

  • Silvana Munzi
  • Stefano Loppi
  • Cristina Cruz
  • Cristina Branquinho
Original Article


This study aimed to deepen the knowledge about intraspecific mechanisms regulating nitrogen tolerance in lichens to wet nitrogen deposition. Thalli of the nitrophilous lichen Xanthoria parietina were collected from environments with different nitrogen availabilities and immersed in 80 mL of ammonium sulphate (NH4)2SO4 solutions with distinct concentrations (0, 0.025, 0.05 and 0.25 M) for 5 h per day during 3 days in a week. After each soaking event, lichens were air dried. After each treatment, maximal PSII efficiency, localization of ammonium ions, concentrations of K+ and Mg2+ and thalli buffer capacity were determined. Our results show that lichens are marked by their native nitrogen environment, since there were important differences between the physiological responses of X. parietina thalli previously grown in an area with high nitrogen deposition (nitrogen emissions of ca. 13,000 t/year) and those previously grown in an unpolluted area (nitrogen emissions of ca. 500 t/year). Greater N availability seems to enable X. parietina to cope better with the effects of nitrogen pollution.


Ammonium load Buffer capacity Chlorophyll fluorescence Electrolyte leakage Membrane damage Xanthoria 



Calcium ion


Cesium chloride


Sulphuric acid


Potassium ion


Potassium nitrate


Lanthanum chloride


Magnesium ion




Sodium hydroxide


Nickel chloride




Ammonium ion


Ammonium chloride


Ammonium nitrate


Ammonium sulphate


Xanthoriaparietina from Arrábida


Xanthoriaparietina from hyppodrome


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvana Munzi
    • 1
  • Stefano Loppi
    • 1
  • Cristina Cruz
    • 2
  • Cristina Branquinho
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Faculdade de Ciências, Centro de Biologia AmbientalUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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