Inactivation of photosynthesis during atmospheric and osmotic (highly concentrated NaCl or sucrose solutions) dehydration was monitored by measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence induction (OIP-phase, Kautsky-curves) in three lichen species. The induction curves were changed in a very similar way by all three treatments. All dehydration effects were rapidly reversible after rehydration. At relatively mild water stress, the rise time to the transient peak Fp was prolonged, and the variable part of fluorescence was diminished. In addition, at severe water stress, a considerable decline of the F0 value was observed. For NaCl treatment this effect started at water potentials <-8.5 MPa in P. aphthosa, <-12 MPa in H. physodes, and <-21 MPa in L. pulmonaria. Above these water potentials, our observations are in agreement with values from desiccation-tolerant algae, higher plants, and lichens, where an inactivation on the photosystem 2 (PS2) donor side has been postulated. At very low water potentials, the decrease in F0 probably monitors changes in the organization of the antenna apparatus of PS2.