Photosynthetic recovery and acclimation to excess light intensity in the rehydrated lichen soil crusts

Li Wu, Yaping Lei, Shubin Lan, Chunxiang Hu

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Abstract

As an important successional stage and main type of biological soil crusts (BSCs) in Shapotou region of China (southeastern edge of Tengger Desert), lichen soil crusts (LSCs) often suffer from many stresses, such as desiccation and excess light intensity. In this study, the chlorophyll fluorescence and CO2 exchange in the rehydrated LSCs were detected under a series of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) gradients to study the photosynthetic acclimation of LSCs. The results showed that although desiccation leaded to the loss of photosynthetic activity in LSCs, the fluorescence parameters including Fo, Fv and Fv/Fm of LSCs could be well recovered after rehydration. After the recovery of photosynthetic activity, the effective photosynthetic efficiency ΦPSII detected by Imaging PAM had declined to nearly 0 within both the lichen thallus upper and lower layers when the PAR increased to 200 μE m-2 s-1, however the net photosynthesis detected by the CO2 gas analyzer in the LSCs still appeared when the PAR increased to 1000 μE m-2 s-1. Our results indicate that LSCs acclimating to high PAR, on the one hand is ascribed to the special structure in crust lichens, making the incident light into the lichen thallus be weakened; on the other hand the massive accumulation of photosynthetic pigments in LSCs also provides a protective barrier for the photosynthetic organisms against radiation damage. Furthermore, the excessive light energy absorbed by crust lichens is also possibly dissipated by the increasing non-photochemical quenching, therefore to some extent providing some protection for LSCs
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0172537
JournalPLoS One
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

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