Articles | Volume 15, issue 3
Research article
08 Feb 2018
Research article |  | 08 Feb 2018

Effects of storage temperature on the physiological characteristics and vegetative propagation of desiccation-tolerant mosses

Yuewei Guo and Yunge Zhao

Abstract. Mosses, as major components of later successional biological soil crusts (biocrusts), play many critical roles in arid and semiarid ecosystems. Recently, some species of desiccation-tolerant mosses have been artificially cultured with the aim of accelerating the recovery of biocrusts. Revealing the factors that influence the vegetative propagation of mosses, which is an important reproductive mode of mosses in dry habitats, will benefit the restoration of moss crusts. In this study, three air-dried desiccation-tolerant mosses (Barbula unguiculata, Didymodon vinealis, and Didymodon tectorum) were hermetically sealed and stored at five temperature levels (0, 4, 17, 25, and 30 °C) for 40 days. Then, the vegetative propagation and physiological characteristics of the three mosses were investigated to determine the influence of storage temperature on the vegetative propagation of desiccation-tolerant mosses and the mechanism. The results showed that the vegetative propagation of the three mosses varied with temperature. The most variation in vegetative propagation among storage temperatures was observed in D. tectorum, followed by the variation observed in B. unguiculata. In contrast, no significant difference in propagation among temperatures was found in D. vinealis. The regenerative capacity of the three mosses increased with increasing temperature from 0 to 17 °C, accompanied by a decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and decreased thereafter. As the temperature increased, the chlorophyll and soluble protein contents increased in B. unguiculata but decreased in D. vinealis and D. tectorum. As to storage, the MDA and soluble sugar contents increased after storage. The MDA content of the three mosses increased at each of the investigated temperatures by more than 50 % from the initial values, and the soluble sugar content became higher than before in the three mosses. The integrity of cells and cell membranes is likely the most important factor influencing the vegetative propagation of desiccation-tolerant mosses. A 40-day storage period caused cell injury. Our results suggest that storage temperature can enhance or suppress such injury and change the regenerative capacity of the three mosses. The data indicate that the suitable storage temperature is 4 °C for B. unguiculata and 17 °C for both D. vinealis and D. tectorum.

Short summary
This study is a preparatory work for inoculating artificial biological soil crusts (biocrusts). The response of the physiological characteristics and regenerative capacity of three mosses to storage temperatures were studied. Results showed that different temperature significantly influenced the physiological characteristics of the mosses, which caused alteration in their regenerative capacity. More focus should therefore be on the state of moss inocula when restoring biocrusts by inoculation.
Final-revised paper