Habitat preferences of an arboreal forage lichen in a Sierra Nevada old-growth mixed-conifer forest

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The arboreal forage lichen Bryoria fremontii (Tuck.) Brodo & D.Hawksw. appears sensitive to conditions of prolonged hydration in wet forests of British Columbia. I estimated the abundance of this lichen in mixed-conifer forest canopy in the contrasting Mediterranean climate of the southern Sierra Nevada in relationship to the vertical gradient of vapor pressure deficit. Abundance was estimated by biomass in 5m strata from the ground to the tops of 50 trees. Transplants of Bryoria thalli were installed in 18 fir trees for 1year to assess their growth relative to distance from perennial streams. VPD generally increased with height, being significantly greater at 45m than 5m. Bryoria biomass averaged across tree heights was estimated as 15.9, 0.60, 0.15, 0.25, and 0.19g·m–1 in red fir (Abies magnifica A.Murray), white fir (Abies concolor (Gordon & Glend.) Hildebr. var. lowiana (Gordon) Lemmon), incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin), Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi Balf.), and sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Douglas), respectively. Transplant growth was significantly greater in trees<25m from water (11.4%) than in trees>25m from water (9.7%). Bryoria had strong positive associations with red fir, proximity to streams, and decreasing VPD. The sensitivity of Bryoria to prolonged hydration does not appear to be important in this climate characterized by extended summer dryness.

Le lichen arboricole qui sert de nourriture, Bryoria fremontii (Tuck.) Brodo & D.Hawksw., semble sensible aux conditions d’hydratation prolongée dans les forêts humides de la Colombie-Britannique. J’ai estimé l’abondance de ce lichen dans le couvert de forêts mixtes de conifères sous le climat méditerranéen très différent de la partie sud de la Sierra Nevada en relation avec le gradient du déficit de saturation (DS). L’abondance a été estimée par la biomasse dans des strates de 5m allant du sol jusqu’au sommet de 50 arbres. Des thalles de Bryoria ont été repiqués sur 18 tiges de sapin pendant un an pour évaluer leur croissance relative en fonction de la distance d’un cours d’eau permanent. Le DS augmentait généralement avec la hauteur; il était significativement plus élevé à 45 qu’à 5m. En moyenne sur l’ensemble de la hauteur des arbres, la biomasse de Bryoria atteignait respectivement 15,9, 0,60, 0,15, 0,25 et 0,19g·m–1 chez le sapin rouge (Abies magnifica A.Murray), le sapin concolore (Abies concolor (Gordon & Glend.) Hildebr. var. lowiana (Gordon) Lemmon), le calocèdre à encens (Calocedrus decurrens (Torr.) Florin), le pin de Jeffrey (Pinus jeffreyi Balf.) et le pin à sucre (Pinus lambertiana Douglas). La croissance des thalles repiqués était significativement plus élevée chez les arbres situés à moins de 25m de l’eau (11,4 %) que chez les arbres situés à plus de 25m de l’eau (9,7 %). Bryoria était étroitement et positivement associé au sapin rouge, à la proximité des cours d’eau et à la diminution du DS. La sensibilité de Bryoria à une hydratation prolongée ne semble pas importante sous ce climat caractérisé par de longues périodes de sécheresse estivale.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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