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

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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Acta Physiologiae Plantarum
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Faculty of Science

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Keywords Spectral indices; PRI; NDVI; Non-photochemical quenching; James Ross Island
Description 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 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 (YIeldPSII), and non-photochemical quenching (qN). Full hydration caused an inhibition of YieldPSII in N. commune while other species remained unaffected. The dehydration-dependent fall in YieldPSII was species-specific, starting at an RWC range of 22–32%. Critical RWC for YieldPSII 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.
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