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Abstract

Lichens, as typical obligate associations between lichenized fungi and their photosynthetic partners, are dominant in Antarctica. Three Antarctic lichens, Ochrolechia frigida , Umbilicaria antarctica , and Usnea aurantiaco−atra with different growth forms, were sampled nearby the Great Wall Station, King George Island. Molecular data revealed that the photosynthetic algae in these three lichens were Trebouxia jamesii . The net photo − synthesis (Pn) of three individuals from these species, together with environmental factors such as light and temperature, were recorded by CO 2 gas exchange measurements using a CI−340 portable photosynthetic system in situ . Differences between T(leaf) (the temperature of the thalli) and T(air) (the air temperature) for these lichens were not consistent, which reflected that environment and the growth form of thalli could affect T(leaf) significantly. Strong irradiation was expected to have adverse effects on Pn of Ochrolechia frigida and Umbilicaria antarctica whose thalli spread flat; but this photoinhibition had little effect on Usnea aurantiaco−atra with exuberant tufted thallus. These results indicated that photo − synthetic activity in lichens was affected by the growth forms of thalli besides microhabitat factors. One species of lichenized alga could exhibit diversified types of photosynthetic behavior when it was associated with various lichenized fungi in different microhabitats. It will be helpful for understanding how lichens are able to adapt to and colonize in extreme environments.
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