Photosynthetic pigments were found in extant and Late Holocene subfossil lichens which had been buried beneath ice in north Greenland. Minor constituents present in nearby conspecific lichens were not observed in subfossils, but the major pigments of extant thalli were detetectable. Thus, while concentrations were lower in subfossils, normal pigments survived glaciation for up to 1350 yr and could be detected in specimens that had been dry for as long as 4 yr. Umbilicaria cylindrica, U. krascheninnikovii and U. hyperborea buried by glacier ice contained chlorophyll a, in some cases chlorophyll b, and up to seven carotenoids. High performance liquid chromatography of subfossil extracts revealed a preponderance of rapidly-eluted peaks, possibly degradation products, that were relatively inconspicuous in extracts of specimens from extant populations. Both glaciated and unglaciated samples of U. hyperborea, which had been stored longer than other species, yielded the lowest chlorophyll a/b ratios and Fv/Fm values, indicative of pigment deterioration in dry thalli. In all species chlorophyll a/chlorophyll b ratios and Fv/Fm readings were generally lower in subfossils than in comparable extant lichens which had escaped long-term ice burial.

Key words: carotenoid*, chlorophyll*, Holocene, lichen*, subfossil, Umbilicaria