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Keywords:

  • CO2 exchange;
  • snow cover;
  • reciprocal transplantation;
  • Umbilicaria spp;
  • lichens

Summary

Two lichen species of the genus Umbilicaria were transplanted into each other's habitat in order to determine the role of winter field conditions in regulating distribution patterns. U. vellea (L.) Ach., which normally grows in a steeply inclined, snow free habitat, was transplated into the level-ground, snow-covered habitat of U. deusta (L.) Baum. The opposite was done for U. deusta. Suitable controls to test the effect of transplanting were also run for both species. The reciprocal transplantation was done in each of two years, one of which had a normal snow load, the other which had almost no snow cover.

The effect of reciprocal transplantation was to reduce significantly the carbon fixing ability in U. vellea in the year with the normal snow-load. Transplantation had no effect on U. deusta. The effects on CO2 exchange were only slight for U. vellea in the year with the lesser snow-load. It is therefore concluded that existing winter field conditions, and especially the nature of the snow cover, maintain the existing distribution pattern of the lichens in the field.