Competition between three saxicolous species of Parmelia (lichens)

Richard A. Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fragments of three foliose, saxicolous lichens were glued in 5 x 5 cm plots on pieces of slate in the field, either in monoculture or paired in 1:1 mixtures with each of the other two species. A preliminary experiment suggested that glueing did not influence the radial growth of the lichen fragments. No species eliminated another after 3 years but the growth (total area in sq mm) of Parmelia saxatils and P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa was reduced significantly in mixtures with P. conspersa; the growth of P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa was reduced significantly in the mixture with P. saxatilis compared with their growth in monoculture. The results suggest that the three lichens show interference by competition for space and light in the following order of competitive ability: P. conspersa > P. saxatilis > P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa. A high radial growth rate and the ability to overgrow a thallus may be important competitive attributes in foliose lichens and the results also suggest that competition can reduce the abundance of a lichen and lead to distribution patterns in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1982


  • lichens
  • radial growth
  • Parmelia saxatilis
  • Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa
  • Parmelia conspersa
  • monoculture
  • competition


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