Summer activity patterns for a moss and lichen in the maritime Antarctic with respect to altitude



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Schroeter, Burkhard and Green, Thomas George Allan and Pintado Valverde, Ana and Türk, Roman and García Sancho, Leopoldo (2021) Summer activity patterns for a moss and lichen in the maritime Antarctic with respect to altitude. Polar Biology, 44 (11). pp. 2117-2137. ISSN 0722-4060

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There is considerable scientific interest as to how terrestrial biodiversity in Antarctica might respond, or be expected to respond, to climate change. The two species of vascular plant confined to the Antarctic Peninsula have shown clear gains in density and range extension. However, little information exists for the dominant components of the flora, lichens and bryophytes. One approach has been to look at change in biodiversity using altitude as a proxy for temperature change and previous results for Livingston Island suggested that temperature was the controlling factor. We have extended this study at the same site by using chlorophyll fluorometers to monitor activity and microclimate of the lichen, Usnea aurantiaco-atra, and the moss, Hymenoloma crispulum. We confirmed the same lapse rate in temperature but show that changes in water relations with altitude is probably the main driver. There were differences in water source with U. aurantiaco-atra benefitting from water droplet harvesting and the species performed substantially better at the summit. In contrast, activity duration, chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthetic modelling all show desiccation to have a large negative impact on the species at the lowest site. We conclude that water relations are the main drivers of biodiversity change along the altitudinal gradient with nutrients, not measured here, as another possible contributor.

Item Type:Article
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CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2021)

Uncontrolled Keywords:Chlorophyll fluorescence; Microclimate; Photosynthesis; Poikilohydric; PSII activity; Altitudinal gradient
Subjects:Medical sciences > Pharmacy > Botany
ID Code:70467
Deposited On:15 Feb 2022 11:30
Last Modified:21 Feb 2022 15:15

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