The influence of environment on foliose lichen growth and its ecological significance

Richard Armstrong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter considers various aspects of the influence of the environment on the growth of foliose lichens and its significance in determining the ecology of individual species. Radial growth (RaG) and growth in mass of foliose lichens is influenced by climate and microclimate and also by substratum factors such as rock and bark texture, substrate chemistry, and nutrient enrichment. Seasonal fluctuations in growth, as measured by radial growth rate (RaGR) per month, often correlate best with average or total rainfall, the number of rain days, or rainfall in a specific season. Temperature has also been identified to be an important climatic factor influencing growth in some studies. Interactions between microclimatic factors and especially light intensity, temperature, and moisture status are important in determining differences in growth in relation to aspect and slope of the substratum. The physical and chemical nature of the substratum has a profound influence on the growth of foliose lichens. Hence, the effects of texture, porosity, rate of drying, and the physical changes of the substratum on growth are likely to influence lichen distributions. Bird droppings may influence growth and survival by smothering the thalli, altering the pH, or adding inhibitory and stimulatory compounds. Nitrogen and phosphate availability may also influence growth. Chemical factors also have an important influence on lichens of maritime rocks, the effect of salinity and calcium ions being of particular importance. Effects of environmental factors on growth influence the competitive ability of a lichen and ultimately its ecology and distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in environmental research
EditorsJustin A. Daniels
Place of PublicationHauppage, NY (US)
PublisherNova science
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62618-722-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-62618-721-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in Environmental Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers
ISSN (Print)2158-5717


  • Foliose lichen
  • Radial growth
  • Dry weight gain
  • Climate
  • Substratum
  • nutrient enrichment
  • competition


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