Raggio, J., Green, T. G. A., Crittenden, P. D., Pintado, A., Vivas, M., Pérez-Ortega, S., & Sancho, L. G. (2012). Comparative ecophysiology of three Placopsis species, pioneer lichens in recently exposed Chilean glacial forelands. Symbiosis, 56(2), 55-66.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7428
Lichen species belonging to the genus Placopsis are early colonisers on snow free moraines of exposed land surfaces in the subantarctic region of Tierra de Fuego, South Chile. The physiological performance of three co-occurring species, P. pycnotheca, (terricolous), and P. perrugosa, and P. stenophylla (both saxicolous) was studied. All, possess green algal photobionts but have cyanobacteria in cephalodia. It was found that there was (i) a strong positive correlation between the acetylene reduction rate (AR) and the maximum photosynthetic rate (Amax), between the N content and the AR rate, and between the N and P contents, and (ii) the relationship between the CO2-exchange rates and the responses obtained in the laboratory reflected the ecology of these three lichens in the field. The results provide new information about the dynamics of some of the fastest growing crustose lichens. We hypothesize that the performance of these three species may have developed as a response to growing in an unstable environment that resulted from frequent glacial fluctuations.