Simulated global warming increases usnic acid but reduces perlatolic acid in the mat-forming terricolous lichen Cladonia stellaris
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonThe Lichenologist. 2017, 49 (3), 269-274. 10.1017/S0024282917000159
Lichens as sessile and slow-growing symbiotic associations have evolved various carbon-based secondary compounds (CBSCs) to mitigate the effects of some stressors in the extreme environments in which they often grow. The mat-forming lichen Cladonia stellaris, an important fodder for reindeer, produces usnic acid in the outermost layer and perlatolic acid in the medulla. Here, we studied effects of simulated global warming on these CBSCs in C. stellaris cultivated in climate chambers with: 1) ambient conditions as control or 2) ambient conditions +4°C. The chambers simulated, at an hourly resolution, an averaged 10-year growing season dynamic from a long-term monitored boreal mire in northern Sweden. After two months of acclimation, +4°C warming in one simulated growing season increased the concentration of usnic acid by 31% compared with ambient conditions, whereas the warming decreased the concentration of perlatolic acid by 14%. Since lichen CBSCs play important roles in ecosystem processes such as lichenivory and decomposition, these changes may profoundly affect lichen-dominated ecosystems.