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Planta

, Volume 247, Issue 3, pp 705–714 | Cite as

Relationships between water status and photosystem functionality in a chlorolichen and its isolated photobiont

  • Francesco Petruzzellis
  • Tadeja Savi
  • Stefano Bertuzzi
  • Alice Montagner
  • Mauro Tretiach
  • Andrea Nardini
Original Article

Abstract

Main conclusion

Drought tolerance was greater in the whole lichen than in its isolated photobiont. Cell turgor state has an influence on the functionality of photosynthetic process in lichens.

Irreversible thermodynamics is widely used to describe the water relations of vascular plants. However, poikilohydrous organisms like lichens and aeroterrestrial microalgae have seldom been studied using this approach. Water relations of lichens are generally addressed without separate analysis of the mycobiont and photobiont, and only few studies have correlated changes in photosynthetic efficiency of dehydrating lichens to accurate measurements of their water potential components. We measured water potential isotherms and chlorophyll a fluorescence in the lichen Flavoparmelia caperata harvested in different seasons, as well as in its isolated photobiont, the green alga Trebouxia gelatinosa, either exposed to water stress cycles or fully hydrated. No significant seasonal trends were observed in lichen water relations parameters. Turgor loss point and osmotic potential of the whole thallus were significantly lower than those measured in the photobiont, while differences between the water stressed photobiont and controls were not significant. Dehydration-induced drop of F v/F m was correlated with turgor loss, revealing that the photosynthetic activity of lichens partly depends on their turgor level. We provided one of the first quantitative evidences of the influence that turgor status could exert on the functionality of photosynthetic processes in lichens.

Keywords

Chlorophyll fluorescence Desiccation tolerance Flavoparmelia caperata Osmotic potential Trebouxia gelatinosa Turgor loss point 

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly

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