Palmqvist K, Sundberg B
Light use efficiency of dry matter gain in five macro-lichens: relative impact of microclimate conditions and species-specific traits
Plant Cell and Environment: 2000 23:1-14
Relations between irradiance (I) and lichen growth were investigated for five macro-lichens growing at two sites in Sweden. The lichens represented different mycobiont-photobiont associations, two morphologies (foliose, fruticose) and two life forms (epiphytic, terricolous). The lichens were transplanted at two geographically distant sites in Sweden (1000 km apart) from Sept 1995 to Sept 1996 in their typical microhabitats, where microclimate and growth were followed. Between April/May and Sept 96, the terricolous species had a dry matter gain of 0.2 to 0.4 g (g DW)(-1) and the epiphytes 0.01 to 0.02 g (g DW)(-1). When related to area, growth amounted to 30 to 70 g m(-2) for the terricolous species and to 1 to 4 g m(-2) for the epiphytes. There was a strong correlation between growth and intercepted irradiance when the lichens were wet (I-wet), with 0.2 to 1.1 g lichen dry matter being produced per MJ solar energy. Across the 10 sets of transplants, light use efficiencies of dry matter yield (e) ranged between 0.5 and 2%, using an energy equivalent of 17.5 kJ g(-1) of lichen dry matter. The higher productivity of the terricolous species was due to longer periods with thallus water contents sufficient for metabolic activity and because of the higher mean photon flux densities of their microhabitat. A four-fold difference in photosynthetic capacity among the species was also important. It is concluded that lichen dry matter gain was primarily related to net carbon gain during metabolically active periods, which was determined by light duration, photon flux density and photosynthetic capacity.
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