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Study of Ecophysiological Responses of the Antarctic Fruticose Lichen Cladonia borealis Using the PAM Fluorescence System under Natural and Laboratory Conditions

1
Unit of Research for Practical Application, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon 21990, Korea
2
Division of Polar Life Sciences, Korea Polar Research Institute, Incheon 21990, Korea
3
Polar Sciences, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon 34114, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010085
Received: 14 October 2019 / Revised: 20 November 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 9 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Symbiosis)
Antarctic lichens have been used as indicators of climate change for decades, but only a few species have been studied. We assessed the photosynthetic performance of the fruticose lichen Cladonia borealis under natural and laboratory conditions using the PAM fluorescence system. Compared to that of sun-adapted Usnea sp., the photosynthetic performance of C. borealis exhibits shade-adapted lichen features, and its chlorophyll fluorescence does not occur during dry days without rain. To understand its desiccation-rehydration responses, we measured changes in the PSII photochemistry in C. borealis under the average light intensity of dawn light and daylight and the desiccating conditions of its natural microclimate. Interestingly, samples under daylight and rapid-desiccation conditions showed a delayed reduction in Fv’/Fm’ and rETRmax, and an increase in Y(II) and Y(NPQ) levels. These results suggest that the photoprotective mechanism of C. borealis depends on sunlight and becomes more efficient with improved desiccation tolerance. Amplicon sequencing revealed that the major photobiont of C. borealis was Asterochloris irregularis, which has not been reported in Antarctica before. Collectively, these results from both field and laboratory could provide a better understanding of specific ecophysiological responses of shade-adapted lichens in the Antarctic region.
Keywords: fruticose lichens; Cladonia borealis; Antarctic; phytochemistry; poikilohydric; non-photochemical quenching; desiccated state; shade-adapted lichen fruticose lichens; Cladonia borealis; Antarctic; phytochemistry; poikilohydric; non-photochemical quenching; desiccated state; shade-adapted lichen
MDPI and ACS Style

Cho, S.M.; Lee, H.; Hong, S.G.; Lee, J. Study of Ecophysiological Responses of the Antarctic Fruticose Lichen Cladonia borealis Using the PAM Fluorescence System under Natural and Laboratory Conditions. Plants 2020, 9, 85.

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