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Extremotolerance and Resistance of Lichens: Comparative Studies on Five Species Used in Astrobiological Research I. Morphological and Anatomical Characteristics

Meeßen, J. and Sánchez, F. J. and Brandt, A. and Balzer, E.M. and de la Torre Noetzel, R. and Sancho, L.G. and de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Ott, O. (2013) Extremotolerance and Resistance of Lichens: Comparative Studies on Five Species Used in Astrobiological Research I. Morphological and Anatomical Characteristics. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres (43), pp. 283-303. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/s11084-013-9337-2 ISSN 0169-6149

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Lichens are symbioses of two organisms, a fungal mycobiont and a photoautotrophic photobiont. In nature, many lichens tolerate extreme environmental conditions and thus became valuable models in astrobiological research to fathom biological resistance towards non-terrestrial conditions; including space exposure, hypervelocity impact simulations as well as space and Martian parameter simulations. All studies demonstrated the high resistance towards non-terrestrial abiotic factors of selected extremotolerant lichens. Besides other adaptations, this study focuses on the morphological and anatomical traits by comparing five lichen species—Circinaria gyrosa, Rhizocarpon geographicum, Xanthoria elegans, Buellia frigida, Pleopsidium chlorophanum—used in present-day astrobiological research. Detailed investigation of thallus organization by microscopy methods allows to study the effect of morphology on lichen resistance and forms a basis for interpreting data of recent and future experiments. All investigated lichens reveal a common heteromerous thallus structure but diverging sets of morphological-anatomical traits, as intra-/extra-thalline mucilage matrices, cortices, algal arrangements, and hyphal strands. In B. frigida, R. geographicum, and X. elegans the combination of pigmented cortex, algal arrangement, and mucilage seems to enhance resistance, while subcortex and algal clustering seem to be crucial in C. gyrosa, as well as pigmented cortices and basal thallus protrusions in P. chlorophanum. Thus, generalizations on morphologically conferred resistance have to be avoided. Such differences might reflect the diverging evolutionary histories and are advantageous by adapting lichens to prevalent abiotic stressors. The peculiar lichen morphology demonstrates its remarkable stake in resisting extreme terrestrial conditions and may explain the high resistance of lichens found in astrobiological research.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/83628/
Document Type:Article
Title:Extremotolerance and Resistance of Lichens: Comparative Studies on Five Species Used in Astrobiological Research I. Morphological and Anatomical Characteristics
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Meeßen, J.Institut für Botanik, Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIED
Sánchez, F. J.Earth Observation Department, INTA. Ctra. de Ajalvir, Km. 4, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid, SpainUNSPECIFIED
Brandt, A.Institut für Botanik, Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIED
Balzer, E.M.Institut für Botanik, Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIED
de la Torre Noetzel, R.Department of Earth Observation, Area of Atmospheric Research and Instrumentation, INTA, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, SpainUNSPECIFIED
Sancho, L.G.Departamento de Biología Vegetal II, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, SpainUNSPECIFIED
de Vera, Jean Pierre Pauljean-pierre.devera (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Ott, O.Institut für Botanik, Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIED
Date:20 July 2013
Journal or Publication Title:Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1007/s11084-013-9337-2
Page Range:pp. 283-303
Keywords:Buellia frigida, Circinaria gyrosa, Lichen morphology, Lichen anatomy, Extremotolerance, BIOMEX
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Experimentelle Planetenphysik
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:19 Sep 2013 09:45
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:29

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