Competition between four foliose lichen species which have distinct aspect distributions on slate rock in South Gwynedd, Wales, U.K. was studied in the field using a factorial experimental design. The lichens were grown as fragments glued to pieces of slate in monoculture and in two-, three- and four-species mixtures. The pieces of slate were placed to face a northerly or southerly direction. Growth in area (mm2) was used as a measure of performance in the experiment. The growth in area of Parmelia conspersa in south facing plots was not reduced in the presence of any of its competitors but its growth was reduced in the presence of Parmelia saxatilis in north facing plots. The growth of Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa was reduced in the presence of P. conspersa and P. saxatilis in south and north facing plots. Physcia orbicularis was reduced by P. conspersa in south facing plots and by both P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa and P. saxatilis in north facing plots. The growth of P. saxatilis was increased by P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa in south facing plots but was not reduced by any of its competitors in north facing plots. Significant two and three factor interactions suggested that the results from the three- and four-species mixtures were not always predictable from the results of the two-species mixtures. The results of the experiment may help to explain the existing aspect distribution of the four species on slate rock in South Gwynedd.
- factorial experimental design
- Parmelia conspersa
- Parmelia saxatilis
- Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa
- Parmelia physica orbicularis