Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 40:177 | Cite as

Dehydration-induced changes in spectral reflectance indices and chlorophyll fluorescence of Antarctic lichens with different thallus color, and intrathalline photobiont

  • Barták Miloš
  • Hájek JosefEmail author
  • Morkusová Jana
  • Skácelová Kateřina
  • Košuthová Alica
Original Article


In this study, we investigated responses of the Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI), and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to gradual dehydration of several Antarctic lichen species (chlorolichens: Xanthoria elegans, Rhizoplaca melanophthalma, Physconia muscigena, cyanolichen: Leptogium puberulum), and a Nostoc commune colony from fully wet to a dry state. The gradual loss of physiological activity during dehydration was evaluated by chlorophyll fluorescence parameters. The experimental lichen species differed in thallus color, and intrathalline photobiont. In the species that did not exhibit color change with desiccation (X. elegans), NDVI and PRI were more or less constant (mean of 0.25, − 0.36, respectively) throughout a wide range of thallus hydration status showing a linear relation to relative water content (RWC). In contrast, the species with apparent species-specific color change during dehydration exhibited a curvilinear relation of NDVI and PRI to RWC. PRI decreased (R. melanophthalma, L. puberulum), increased (N. commune) or showed a polyphasic response (P. muscigena) with desiccation. Except for X. elegans, a curvilinear relation was found between the NDVI response to RWC in all species indicating the potential of combined ground research and remote sensing spectral data analyses in polar regions dominated by lichen flora. The chlorophyll fluorescence data recorded during dehydration (RWC decreased from 100 to 0%) revealed a polyphasic species-specific response of variable fluorescence measured at steady state—Fs, effective quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII), and non-photochemical quenching (qN). Full hydration caused an inhibition of ΦPSII in N. commune while other species remained unaffected. The dehydration-dependent fall in ΦPSII was species-specific, starting at an RWC range of 22–32%. Critical RWC for ΦPSII was around 5–10%. Desiccation led to a species-specific polyphasic decrease in Fs and an increase in qN indicating the involvement of protective mechanisms in the chloroplastic apparatus of lichen photobionts and N. commune cells. In this study, the spectral reflectance and chlorophyll fluorescence data are discussed in relation to the potential of ecophysiological processes in Antarctic lichens, their resistance to desiccation and survival in Antarctic vegetation oases.


Spectral indices PRI NDVI Non-photochemical quenching James Ross Island 



The authors thank the projects CzechPolar-I, II (LM2010009 and LM2015078) for providing field facilities in Antarctica and the infrastructure for the research reported in this study. The authors thank also for the support from ECOPOLARIS project (CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_013/0001708).


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barták Miloš
    • 1
  • Hájek Josef
    • 1
    Email author
  • Morkusová Jana
    • 1
  • Skácelová Kateřina
    • 1
  • Košuthová Alica
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Photosynthetic Processes, Department of Experimental Biology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

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