The effect of rock surface aspect on growth, size structure and competition in the lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum

Richard A. Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Rhizocarpon geographicum is a crustose lichen found frequently on rock surfaces of southern aspect and less frequently on rock surfaces of northern aspect in Gwynedd, North Wales. This study tested the hypothesis that the radial growth of R. geographicum thalli predicts aspect distribution. Thalli of all sizes, however, exhibited significantly greater radial growth over 18 months on northwest compared with southeast facing surfaces. The hypothesis that a more intense competitive environment on northwest facing surfaces may explain the aspect distribution of R. geographicum was then tested. The size frequency distributions of thalli revealed a higher proportion of thalli in the smallest size class and a more restricted thallus size range on the northwest facing surfaces. In addition, thallus mortality appeared to be greater on northwest facing surfaces. Significantly more associated lichen species were present on rock surfaces of northern aspect at sites where R. geographicum was present. The mean frequency of the associated lichen species, however, was significantly lower on surfaces of northern aspect where R. geographicum was present. In addition, two common foliose species at these sites were demonstrated experimentally to overgrow thalli of R. geographicum. It is concluded that the growth of R. geographicum over the study period did not predict aspect distribution and that differences in the competitive environments on northwest and southeast surfaces may be an important factor determining aspect distribution. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-194
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2002

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Rhizocarpon
size structure
thallus
lichen
lichens
rocks
rock
Wales
effect
range size
distribution

Keywords

  • aspect distribution
  • competition
  • overgrowth
  • radial growth rate
  • size frequency distribution

Cite this

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abstract = "Rhizocarpon geographicum is a crustose lichen found frequently on rock surfaces of southern aspect and less frequently on rock surfaces of northern aspect in Gwynedd, North Wales. This study tested the hypothesis that the radial growth of R. geographicum thalli predicts aspect distribution. Thalli of all sizes, however, exhibited significantly greater radial growth over 18 months on northwest compared with southeast facing surfaces. The hypothesis that a more intense competitive environment on northwest facing surfaces may explain the aspect distribution of R. geographicum was then tested. The size frequency distributions of thalli revealed a higher proportion of thalli in the smallest size class and a more restricted thallus size range on the northwest facing surfaces. In addition, thallus mortality appeared to be greater on northwest facing surfaces. Significantly more associated lichen species were present on rock surfaces of northern aspect at sites where R. geographicum was present. The mean frequency of the associated lichen species, however, was significantly lower on surfaces of northern aspect where R. geographicum was present. In addition, two common foliose species at these sites were demonstrated experimentally to overgrow thalli of R. geographicum. It is concluded that the growth of R. geographicum over the study period did not predict aspect distribution and that differences in the competitive environments on northwest and southeast surfaces may be an important factor determining aspect distribution. {\circledC} 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.",
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The effect of rock surface aspect on growth, size structure and competition in the lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum. / Armstrong, Richard A.

In: Environmental and Experimental Botany, Vol. 48, No. 2, 09.2002, p. 187-194.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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