RU-TS University of Trieste– Department of Life Science

    The activity of RU-TS is aimed at studying the role of mesoclimate and atmospheric pollution in modifying the colonization of epiphytic lichens in urban environments, characterizing the lichen symbiosis response to the photo-oxidative stress at functional and transcriptomic level, and determining possible future scenarios in relation to the forecasted climate change. Lichens are well known early stress indicators. The effects of the complex set ‘mesoclimte+airborne pollutants’ will be investigated in both auto- and allochthonous (= transplanted) lichens, in tight connection with RU-PI, by means of (a) in situ experiments in two pilot-towns and (b) fumigation experiments in the laboratory, under controlled conditions. In the former case, the proposal is to use Flavoparmelia caperata, a relatively heliophilous species which is also moderately tolerant to urban pollutants. In each site, on the trees that host the target-lichen, microclimatic data loggers will be positioned in order to describe the air temperature, the relative humidity and the dew point regimes. Investigated parameters include: (a) chlorophyll fluorescence, to study functionality of photobiont photosystems; (b) membrane integrity; (c) histochemical investigation at a confocal microscopy with specific probe to verify membrane  state and H2O2 localization. In tight connection with RU-PI, lichens will be exposed to environmental parameters referred to a 2050 scenario. Non-invasive assays will include effects on electron transport chain, thermal dissipation, alternative photochemical pathways. Confocal microscopy will analyse H2O2 localization. Ultrastructural characters of the chloroplast will be observed by TEM. The transcriptomic response of Trebouxia to photo-oxidative stress will be the background to build up a basis for studies in lichenology. Part of the activity is run with the free support of Graz University. The major expected results will deeply modify present knowledge of protein coded by photobionts of lichen symbiosis and will allow the integration of the protocol so far in use in biomonitoring studies. The stress related proteins will be elucidated as well.

    Project team

    Prof. Mauro Tretiach, Prof. Andrea Nardini, Dott. Lucia Muggia, Dott. Stefano Bertuzzi, Dott. Fabio Candotto Carniel, Dott. Elisa Bianchi, Dott. Federica Bove, Dott. Fiore Capozzi, Dott. Teresa Craighero, Dott. Lorenzo Fortuna, Dott. Danijela Kodnik, Dott. Alice Montagner, Dott. Francesco Panepinto, Dott. Elva Cecconi, Dott. Lorenzo Cestaro, Dott. Gaia Pandolfini, Dott. Massimo Bidussi.


    Prof. Mauro Tretiach

    Department of Life Science, University of Trieste

    Via L. Giorgieri, 10 I34127 Trieste (TS) Italy

    Phone +39 040.5588822


    e-mail tretiach@units.it




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