The influence of environmental factors on the growth of lichens in the field

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  • Richard A. Armstrong

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The majority of studies of the effects of environmental factors on lichen growth have been carried out in the field. Growth of lichens in the field has been measured as absolute growth rate (e.g., length growth, radial growth, diameter growth, area growth, or dry weight gain per unit of time) or as a relative growth rate, expressed per unit of thallus area or weight, e.g., thallus specific weight. Seasonal fluctuations in growth in the field often correlate best with changes in average or total rainfall or frequency of rain events through the year. In some regions of the world, temperature is also an important climatic factor influencing growth. Interactions between microclimatic factors such as light intensity, temperature, and moisture are particularly important in determining local differences in growth especially in relation to aspect and slope of rock surface, or height on a tree. Factors associated with the substratum including type, chemistry, texture, and porosity can all influence growth. In addition, growth can be influenced by the degree of nutrient enrichment of the substratum associated with bird droppings, nitrogen, phosphate, salinity, or pollution. Effects of environmental factors on growth can act directly to restrict species distribution or indirectly by altering the competitive balance among different species in a community.


Publication date2015
Publication titleRecent advances in lichenology : modern methods and approaches in biomonitoring and bioprospection
EditorsDalip Kumar Upreti, Pradeep K. Divakar, Vertika Shukla, Rajesh Bajpal
Place of PublicationNew Delhi (IN)
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-81-322-2181-4
ISBN (Print)978-81-322-21800-7
Original languageEnglish


  • lichen, radial growth rate, dry weight gain, relative growth rate, climate, substratum, nutrient enrichment, competition

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