Potential risk of photo-damage in Antarctic photosynthetic organisms

Light is indispensable for photosynthetic organisms, but excess light energy causes damage in photosystems and readily leads to cell death in severe environments such as Antarctica. Kosugi et al. determine reaction coefficients of photo-inactivation in three Antarctic dominant species, Prasiola crispa (green alga), Umbilicaria decussata (lichen) and Ceratodon purpureus (bryophyte). They relate them to light quality and quantity to evaluate the environmental pressure that has a large effect to ecological behaviour.

Antarctic shore

Kosugi et al. reveal that P. crispa needs to pay large costs to recover from photo-damage than the lichen or the bryophyte in order to keep sufficient photosynthetic activity in the Antarctic habitat. A variety of strategies against photoinhibition exist in dominant species of Antarctica, depending on the organism’s ecology

Further reading

Kosugi, M., Maruo, F., Inoue, T., Kurosawa, N., Kawamata, A., Koike, H., … Imura, S. (2018). A comparative study of wavelength-dependent photoinactivation in photosystem II of drought-tolerant photosynthetic organisms in Antarctica and the potential risks of photoinhibition in the habitat. Annals of Botany, 122(7), 1263–1278. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcy139