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Bryophyte and lichen diversity: a comparative study

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posted on 2023-05-26, 10:52 authored by Pharo, EJ, Beattie, AJ
We describe the regional species richness, variation in species richness and species turnover of bryophytes and lichens from 36 sites in lowland forests of S.E. Australia. The analyses subdivided the two major taxa into their constituent sub-groups: mosses, liverworts and crustose, fruticose and foliose lichens and explored correlations between selected environmental variables and patterns of diversity. On a regional scale, there were 77 species of bryophytes and 69 species of lichens, giving a total approximately one third of the total number of vascular plant species. Mean species richness was higher for lichens than bryophytes, the two being negatively correlated as lichens favoured dry sites and bryophytes favoured moist ones. Species turnover was greater for bryophytes than lichens, a result largely dependent on the distribution of liverwort species. Foliose lichens showed higher levels of turnover than crustose lichens. Multiple regression and canonical correspondence analysis showed that both taxa and all sub-groups responded to the same three variables - vascular plant cover, time since last fire and topographic position. Other variables, including time since logging and intensity of logging explained little variation in bryophyte or lichen diversity. The data suggest that strategies for the conservation of bryophyte and lichen biodiversity will be different to reflect the different patterns of species richness and species turnover.


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Australian Journal of Ecology



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