Effects of physical factors on photosynthesis by the Antarctic liverwort Marchantia berteroana

Davey, Martin C.. 1997 Effects of physical factors on photosynthesis by the Antarctic liverwort Marchantia berteroana. Polar Biology, 17 (3). 219-227.

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Effects of irradiance, temperature and water availability on respiration and photosynthesis in a maritime Antarctic liverwort, Marchantia berteroana, were investigated. Carbon dioxide exchange was measured using an infra-red gas analysis system under controlled conditions. The relationships between respiration, photosynthesis, irradiance and temperature were modelled. Application of these models to year-round micro-climate data provided an estimate of yearly net productivity of 823 (SE=75) mg C⋅g-1 ash-free dry weight. year-1; this is somewhat higher than figures obtained for other Antarctic cryptogams. Desiccation had a highly adverse affect on Marchantia. Photosynthetic capacity was reduced below a water content of 12 g⋅g-1 afdw, and there was only a limited recovery (ca. 10%) after dehydration. Freezing also caused a great reduction in photosynthesis, although the model suggested that photosynthesis at sub-zero temperatures is likely. It is suggested that seasonality in the photosynthetic capacity and the survival of sub-zero temperatures might be important. It is concluded that Marchantia is a relatively productive Antarctic cryptogam that may dominate favourable areas, but that its low tolerance of environmental stress, particularly desiccation, limits its distribution to relatively mild habitats.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > Pre 2000 programme
ISSN: 0722-4060
Date made live: 13 Sep 2016 08:09 +0 (UTC)

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