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Dessication Tolerance in Bryophytes and Lichens

Mishler, Brent D. [1], Oliver, Melvin [2], Alpert, Peter [3].

Desiccation Tolerance in Bryophytes and Lichens.

Bryophytes and lichens are often studied together, despite their extreme phylogenetic disjunction. Indeed the major North American professional society devoted to their study is a joint one, the American Bryological and Lichenological Society (ABLS). Why is this? The answer lies in their surprisingly similar ecology: similar size and occupation of similar microhabitats, similar sensitivity to properties of their substrates, and similar distribution patterns at all spatial scales. One fundamental shared biological syndrome underlies most of these similarities in ecology: a rare, direct intimacy in water relationships between the environment and the cell. Both groups rapidly equilibrate their cellular water content to that of the environment (termed poikilohydry), a feature with many implications for ion exchange, microhabitat preference, interactions with other organisms (including symbiotic microbes), reproduction, sensitivity to pollution, and of course physiology. Unless a poikilohydric organism is aquatic, it also needs to be desiccation tolerant (i.e., able to recover after being air-dry at the cellular level). We are just beginning to understand the complexity of the mechanisms that underlie desiccation tolerance, and the many implications of this unusual water management strategy. This symposium will attempt to show the current status of research in this area, from a very broad perspective, and consider where the most productive, synthetic efforts will come from in the future. Supported by ABLS and the Deep Gene Research Coordination Network (for which we gratefully acknowledge NSF Grant DEB-0090227).


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1 - University of California, Berkeley, Department of Integrative Biology, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg. #2465, Berkeley, California, 94720-2465, USA
2 - USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Plant Stress Laboratory, 3810 4th St, Lubbock, Texas, 79415, USA
3 - University of Massachusetts, Biology, Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003, USA

Keywords:
desiccation tolerance
bryophytes
lichens
ecology
poikilohydry.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 27-1
Location: Salon K - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 8:30 AM
Abstract ID:488


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