Competitive interactions between four foliose lichen species with and without nutrient enrichment

Richard A. Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Competition between four foliose lichen species, common on slate rock surfaces in South Gwynedd, Wales, UK, was studied in experimental plots with and without nutrient enrichment by bird droppings. Fragments of the four lichens were glued to pieces of slate on horizontal boards in monoculture and in two-, three- and four-species mixtures in a factorial experimental design. In monoculture, nutrient enrichment increased thallus area of Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh. ex. Ach.) Ach., decreased thallus areas of Parmelia saxatilis (L.) Ach. and Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa (Fr. ex. Duby) Laundon, and did not affect thallus area of Phaeophyscia orbicularis (Necker) Moberg compared with untreated thalli. In the mixtures, P. conspersa and Ph. orbicularis were equally effective competitors in plots with and without nutrient enrichment. Addition of bird droppings, however, altered the ability of P. saxatilis and P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa, to compete with the other species, the competitive ability of both species being reduced in some mixtures but increased in others. The results suggest that nutrient enrichment may alter the competitive balance between the four lichen species and this may be a factor determining their relative abundance on rock surfaces in South Gwynedd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


  • lichen competition
  • nutrient enrichment
  • bird droppings
  • factorial experimental design


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