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.
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