Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Role of Substrate Type, Moisture and Temperature on the Vertical Growth of Terricolous Lichens

Version 1 : Received: 8 November 2018 / Approved: 9 November 2018 / Online: 9 November 2018 (11:18:37 UTC)

How to cite: Monge-Nájera, J. The Role of Substrate Type, Moisture and Temperature on the Vertical Growth of Terricolous Lichens. Preprints 2018, 2018110245 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201811.0245.v1). Monge-Nájera, J. The Role of Substrate Type, Moisture and Temperature on the Vertical Growth of Terricolous Lichens. Preprints 2018, 2018110245 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201811.0245.v1).

Abstract

Lichens are traditionally divided into short “crustose”, intermediate “foliose” and tall “fruticose” types, a practice that hides a growth continuum. Substrate, temperature and water are thought to affect vertical growth, but such factors are difficult to measure, because, for example, the water actually available to lichens does not match rainfall patterns or even ground water levels. To reliably assess the effect of those factors, I recorded temperature, moisture, and substrate in and under individual terricolous lichen colonies in 60 fixed quadrats on April, August, October, and December of 2015 (Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica, 9°33′N; 83°45′W). The measurements were taken inside the colonies themselves (rather than on the general environment), covering an annual cycle of the relatively simple páramo habitat, where animals and vegetation have less impact than in lower ecosystems. The hypotheses were that lichens would grow taller on softer, warmer, and moister ground; on the Caribbean versant; and on the rainy season. Results matched the hypotheses, with one exception: lichens on soft ground were not taller than those on rock. Caribbean colonies were, on the average, 7 cm taller than those on the drier Pacific versant. Physiologically available water seems to be the main determinant of lichen vertical growth: more water means taller lichens and greater protection from climatic change for both the lichens and their microcommunities.

Subject Areas

physical variables; climate; highland lichens; effect of climate change

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