Sex Differences in Desiccation Tolerance Varies by Colony in the Mesic Liverwort Plagiochila porelloides

Juliana da C. Silva-E-costa, Andrea P. Luizi-Ponzo, David Nicholas McLetchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Water scarcity, a common stress factor, negatively impacts plant performance. Strategies to cope with it, such as desiccation tolerance, are becoming increasingly important to investigate. However, phenomena, such as intraspecific variation in stress responses have not received much attention. Knowledge of this variability and the environmental drivers can be leveraged to further investigate the mechanisms of desiccation tolerance. Here we tested for variation in desiccation tolerance in Plagiochila porelloides among colonies and sexes within the same riparian zone. Field-collected dehardened plants were subjected to a desiccation event, under controlled conditions and then rehydrated. Plant water status, photosynthetic rates, net carbon gain, and efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) were assayed to evaluate tissue desiccation, basic metabolic processes and plant recovery. To establish a linkage between plant response and environmental factors, field light conditions were measured. We detected intraspecific variation, where a more exposed colony (high percentage of open sky, large temporal range of light quantity, and high red/far-red ratio) showed sex differences in desiccation tolerance and recovery. Overall, PSII recovery occurred by 72 h after rehydration, with a positive carbon gain occurring by day 30. This within species variation suggests plastic or genetic effects, and likely association with light conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number478
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Desiccation tolerance
  • Ecophysiology
  • Environmental association
  • Maximum quantum yield
  • Net carbon assimilation
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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