University of Oulu

The responses of ectohydric and endohydric mosses under ambient and enhanced ultraviolet radiation

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Author: Lappalainen, Niina1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2010
Publish Date: 2010-06-08
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on 18 June 2010, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Javier Martínez-Abaigar
Doctor Ken Ryan


Previous reports on the effects of enhanced UV-B radiation on bryophytes have been equivocal. This study shows that mosses not only respond to enhanced UV-B, but they are affected by changes in ambient radiation. The studies were conducted with two model species common in northern environments; red-stemmed feather moss (Pleurozium schreberi) and juniper haircap moss (Polytrichum juniperinum).

Both species showed high concentrations of methanol-extractable UV-absorbing compounds (UACs) with high spring-time and early-summer UV, whereas in P. juniperinum, the concentration was affected by early-summer drought. The UACs of P. juniperinum increased again towards autumn suggesting a role in winter hardening. The (spring-time) cell wall-bound UV screen was important to both species. The fundamental adaptation of P. juniperinum to open and exposed environments was reflected in relatively higher concentrations of total UACs compared to P. schreberi.

The enhanced UV-B experiments in situ were conducted over two years in Oulu and six years at the FUVIRC site in Sodankylä. Some of the effects of UV-B were seen within the first years of the experiments, or even within hours, while others were observed after several years. Five or six years of enhanced UV-B treatment increased the methanol-extractable UACs of P. schreberi and decreased the green shoot growth of P. juniperinum. The immediate light environment was proposed to have an impact on the varying UAC concentrations. Some mitigating effects of UV-A were observed as well.

Off-site measured, reconstructed and modelled UV radiation data was used for comparisons of light environment in situ, or when performing a reconstructive research with historical samples. The environmental sample banks can provide a useful tool to study past environmental conditions, and even reconstruct past radiation levels.

It was shown in this study that UACs in P. schreberi and P. juniperinum have fundamental roles as UV-B screens in the cell walls, but there is also a variable response with the soluble fraction that reacts and adapts to the changes in UV radiation. The responses to increasing UV-B radiation vary in magnitude and in time. As P. schreberi and P. juniperinum possess circumboreal and cosmopolitan distributions, the effects of UV-B on these species and consequently on ecosystems has a broad application.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-6214-2
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6232-6
Issue: 558
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2010. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.