A sample of run-off water from a vertical, slate rock surface in Wales, U.K. contained abundant fragments of the lichen Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa from about 0.6 to 8.0 mm in diameter, a few fragments of Parmelia conspersa from 0.6 to 4.0 mm in diameter and a large number of unidentified propagules from 0.2 to 0.5 mm in diameter. The colonization of permanent plots on the rock surface was studied over six years. At the end of the experiment relatively few thalli of Parmelia conspersa, Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa and Buellia aethalea had established in plots on undisturbed and newly-exposed slate. Fragments (2 mm in diameter) of Parmelia conspersa placed on horizontal pieces of slate survived up to 120 days in cracks, 20 days on a thin smear of bird droppings but only 2-3 days on smooth slate, against small joints in the rock or in small holes. Isidia of Parmelia conspersa placed on horizontal pieces of slate established equally in plots on smooth undisturbed slate and in plots on the surface exposed after the removal of large Parmelia conspersa thalli, but less well on newly-exposed slate. These results suggest that lichen propagules are abundant in run-off water but establishment is a hazardous process. This may be attributable to a shortage of suitable sites on the substratum for attachment of propagules.
- run-off water
- slate rock surface
- Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa