Lichen thalli were exposed to 4 regimes differing in irradiance and duration of irradiation. Photosynthetic efficiency of thalli was monitored by chlorophyll fluorescence parameters and xanthophyll cycle analysis. Maximal quantum yield of photosystem 2 (FV/FM) decreased gradually with time in long-term treatment. The effect of additional short-term high irradiance (HI) treatment applied each 24 h was not significant. Nevertheless, short-term HI applied repeatedly on thalli kept in the dark led to a significant decrease of FV/FM. Non-photochemical quenching recorded during the long-term treatment corresponded to the content of zeaxanthin (Z). In short-term treatment, however, proportion of Z (and antheraxanthin) to total amount of xanthophyll cycle pigments recovered to the initial values every 24 h after each repeated short-term HI event in thalli kept in dark. Thus duration of irradiation rather than irradiance and frequency of HI events is important for a decrease in primary photosynthetic processes in wet thalli of Lasallia pustulata. Rapidly responding photoprotective mechanisms, such as conversion of xanthophyll cycle pigments, are involved mainly in short-term irradiation events, even at HI.