Paoli, L., Pinho, P., Branquinho, C., Loppi, S. & Munzi, S. (2017) The influence of growth form and substrate on lichen ecophysiological responses along an aridity gradient.Environmental Science & Pollution Research, 24(34), 26206-26212. DOI:10.1007/s11356-017-9361-2 (IF2017 2,800; Q1 Environmental Sciences)
In this paper, we investigated whether growth form and substrate in lichens influence their physiological responses along an aridity gradient. Thalli of the foliose lichen Parmotrema perlatum and the fruticose lichen Ramalina canariensis were transplanted in selected rural/forested sites of Southern Portugal characterized by a different aridity index. Physiological parameters including photosynthetic performances, assimilation pigments, ergosterol content and sample viability were measured prior to exposure (winter) and after 6-month exposure (summer). Photosynthetic performances were also investigated in common native foliose and fruticose epiphytic lichens and in fruticose terricolous species. Both transplanted and native lichens showed a decrease in photosynthetic performances in summer and lower performances in sites classified as drier and higher performances in humid forested sites. No relevant differences occurred between epiphytic foliose and fruticose growth forms. However, terricolous fruticose samples showed a significant difference in humid and drier sites and between winter and summer, probably due to microclimatic conditions similarly to other biological crusts.