Resurrection kinetics of photosynthesis in desiccation-tolerant terrestrial green algae (Chlorophyta) on tree bark


  • Editor
    R. Leegood

B. Büdel, University of Kaiserslautern – Biology, Plant Ecology and Systematics, Erwin-Schroedinger Str. Bau 13, Kaiserslautern, 67663, Germany.


The rough bark of orchard trees (Malus) around Darmstadt is predominantly covered in red to purple-brown layers (biofilms) of epiphytic terrestrial alga of Trentepohlia umbrina. The smooth bark of forest trees (Fagus sylvatica L. and Acer sp.) in the same area is covered by bright green biofilms composed of the green algae Desmococcus, Apatococcus and Trebouxia, with a few cells of Coccomyxa and ‘Chlorella’ trebouxioides between them. These algae are desiccation tolerant. After samples of bark with the biofilms were kept in dry air in darkness for various periods of time, potential quantum yield of PSII, Fv/Fm, recovered during rehydration upon rewetting. The kinetics and degree of recovery depended on the length of time that the algae were kept in dry air in the desiccated state. Recovery was better for green biofilm samples, i.e. quite good even after 80 days of desiccation (Fv/Fm = ca. 50% of initial value), than the red samples, where recovery was only adequate up to ca. 30–40 days of desiccation (Fv/Fm = ca. 20–55% of initial value). It is concluded that the different bark types constitute different ecophysiological niches that can be occupied by the algae and that can be distinguished by their capacity to recover from desiccation after different times in the dry state.