Factors associated with lobe division in the lichen Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh. ex. Ach.)Ach.

Richard A. Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The factors associated with lobe division were studied in thalli of the lichen Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh. ex Ach.)Ach. Lobe division was studied in sequences of adjacent lobes using spatial pattern analysis. In five large thalli, lobe division within the thallus margin was randomly distributed. Correlations between the degree of lobe division, the radial growth of the lobe and lobe morphology were studied in six thalli. Lobe division was positively correlated with either lobe width or area in four thalli. Correlations were observed with radial growth or morphology of the adjacent lobes in two thalli. Dividing and non-dividing lobes were removed from large thalli and glued to pieces of slate with their tips either at the same level or in front of neighbouring lobes. Dividing lobes divided more rapidly when their tips were glued in front of their neighbours. The levels of ribitol, arabitol and mannitol were measured within a 2 mm region of the tip in dividing and non-dividing lobes on four occasions in 1994. Carbohydrate levels were significantly increased in dividing compared with non-dividing lobes. In addition, the mean size of the algal cells was greater in non-dividing compared with dividing lobes especially at the lobe base. However, the percentage of zoosporangia and aplanosporangia did not vary significantly in dividing and non-dividing lobes. These results suggest that: 1) the pattern of lobe division within the thallus margin may be random, 2) lobe division may be determined by lobe size and the location of the lobe tip relative to the neighbouring lobes and 3) there may be an increase in the productivity of lobes associated with lobe division.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-277
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


  • lichen
  • parmelia conspersa
  • lobe division
  • ribitol
  • algal cell division
  • zoosporangia


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