Vertical distribution of epiphytic lichens on Quercus laurina Humb. & Bonpl. in a remnant of cloud forest in the state of Veracruz, México

  • Gonzalo Castillo-Campos, Rosa Emilia Pérez-Pérez, Octavio Córdova-Chávez, José Guadalupe García-Franco and Marcela Eugenia da Silva Cáceres
  • Nordic Journal of Botany

Abstract

In the tropics, corticolous lichen richness and cover tend to increase from the trunk
base to the top of the crown of trees. In this study we calculated the total beta diversity
of the lichen community along a vertical gradient on Quercus laurina in Mexican
cloud forest. By comparing the richness and cover of the lichens by zone, we show that
foliose and fruticose lichens are a minor component of the total lichen species richness,
but have a higher cover than the crustose lichens. Five zones were identified along each
phorophyte (n = 15) with a diameter at breast height >40 cm. A total of 92 species
were identified. Of these, 38% were found only in a single zone, 51% were shared
between the different zones and 11% occurred across all zones. Species richness and
cover increased from the lowest to the highest zones of the phorophytes. Dissimilarity
in species composition between the zones could be explained by species replacement.
An indicator species analysis revealed that only a few species, e.g. Hypotrachyna vexans,
H. cf. sublaevigata and Ramalina cf. sinaloensis prefer a particular zone. The results
show that the lichen community associated with Quercus laurina phorophytes is highly
diverse and suggest that species richness and cover are related to the zone and the various
growth forms.

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