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Seasonal differences have been observed in the ability of desiccated mosses to dissipate absorbed light energy harmlessly into heat. During the dry summer season desiccation-tolerant mosses were more protected against photo-oxidative damage in the dry state than during the more humid winter season. Investigation of the differences revealed that phototolerance could be acquired or lost even under laboratory conditions. When a desiccated poikilohydric moss such as Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus is in the photosensitive state, the primary quinone, Q(A), in the reaction centre of photosystem II is readily reduced even by low intensity illumination as indicated by reversibly increased chlorophyll fluorescence. No such reduction...
The relationship between photosynthetic energy conservation and thermal dissipation of light energy is considered, with emphasis on organisms which tolerate full desiccation without suffering photo-oxidative damage in strong light. As soon as water becomes available to dry poikilohydric organisms, they resume photosynthetic water oxidation. Only excess light is then thermally dissipated in mosses and chlorolichens by a mechanism depending on the protonation of a thylakoid protein and availability of zeaxanthin. Upon desiccation, another mechanism is activated which requires neither protonation nor zeaxanthin although the zeaxanthin-dependent mechanism of energy dissipation remains active, provided desiccation occurs...