Factors determining the growth curve of the foliose lichen Parmelia conspersa

Richard A. Armstrong, S.N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growth curves of the foliose lichen Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh. Ex Ach.)Ach. Were obtained by plotting radial growth (RGR, mm yr-1) of the fastest measured lobe, the slowest measured lobe, a randomly selected lobe, and by averaging a sample of lobes from each thallus against thallus diameter. Growth curves derived from the fastest-growing lobe and by averaging lobes were asymptotic and could be fitted by the growth model of Aplin and Hill. Mean lobe width increased with thallus size, reaching a maximum at approx. 4.5 cm thallus diameter. In four out of six thalli, radial growth of lobes over four months was positively correlated with initial lobe width or area. The RGR of isolated lobes was unaffected until the base of the lobe was removed to within 1-2 mm of the tip. The concentration (micrograms mg-1 biomass) of ribitol, arabitol and mannitol was greater in the marginal lobes of large than in small thalli. The results suggested that the growth curve of P. conspersa is determined by processes that occur within individual marginal lobes and can be explained by the Aplin and Hill model. Changes in lobe width and in the productive capacity of individual lobes with thallus size are likely to be more important factors than the degree of translocation within the lobe in determining the growth curve.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-522
Number of pages6
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


  • Lichen
  • Parmelia conspersa
  • growth curve
  • lobe growth
  • Aplin and Hill model


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