Growth curves of four crustose lichens

Richard A. Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth curves of four common species of crustose lichens, viz., Buellia aethalea (Ach.) Th. Fr., Lecidea tumida Massai., Rhizocarpon geographicum (L.) DC., and Rhizocarpon reductum Th. Fr. were studied at a site in south Gwynedd, north Wales, UK. Radial growth rates (RGR, mm 1.5 yr-1) were greatest in thalli of R. reductum and least in R. geographicum. Variation in RGR between thalli was greater in B. aethalea and L. tumida than in the species of Rhizocarpon. The relationship between growth rate and thallus diameter was not asymptotic; RGR increasing in smaller thalli to a maximum and then declining in larger diameter thalli. A polynomial curve was fitted to the data; the growth curves being fitted best by a second-order (quadratic) curve, the best fit to this model being shown by B. aethalea. A significant linear regression with a negative slope was also fitted to the growth of the larger thalli of each species. The data suggest that the growth curves of the four crustose lichens differ significantly from the asymptotic curves of foliose lichen species. A phase of declining RGR in larger thalli appears to be characteristic of crustose lichens and is consistent with data from lichenometric studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2005


  • areolae
  • crustose species
  • growth curve
  • hypothallus
  • lichen
  • radial growth rate (RGR)


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