THE INFLUENCE OF THE FREQUENCY OF WETTING AND DRYING ON THE RADIAL GROWTH OF THREE SAXICOLOUS LICHENS IN THE FIELD

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Summary

Three lichen species were wetted with distilled water at different frequencies during August 1973 to July 1974. The radial growth rates of Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa and Physcia orhicularis thalli declined with increased wetting while the radial growth rate of Parmelia conspersa thalli increased with wetting frequency until ten experimental wettings per month but at fifteen wettings per month fell to a value near to the control. In the summer months wetting resulted in a decline in the radial growth of P. glabratula ssp. fuliginosa compared with the control but had little influence on the growth of P. conspersa and Physcia orbicularis. In the winter months, wetting had no significant influence on the radial growth of Parmelia glabratula ssp. fuliginosa, while the radial growth of P. conspersa increased and Physcia orbicularis declined compared with controls. These results are interpreted physiologically and in relation to the aspect distribution of the three lichens on rock surfaces.

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