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The lichen genus Usnea in Norway north of the Arctic Circle: biogeography and ecology

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Six species of the lichen genus Usnea are reported from Norway north of the Arctic Circle (total study area of 97.000 km2). The distribution maps are based on herbarium records extensively supplemented by our own records. Usnea glabrescens and U. substerilis are reported for the first time from the study area, whereas U. lapponica is reported as new to Finnmark. The two former species and U. filipendula have their northern distribution limit in Tromsø at 69°40'N. Usnea lapponica, U. hirta and U. subfloridana reach Finnmark, but none of them are common north or east of Tromsø. Literature reports of U. barbata, U. chaetophora and U. florida from Nordland, and of U. filipendula from Finnmark are considered doubtful. Most site records of Usnea are from the middle boreal vegetation zone, and only 7% of the site records are from the northern boreal zone. The northern boreal populations are considered as casual occurrences originating from long-distance dispersal, and not as locally established, self-propagating populations. The weakly oceanic vegetation section is the most preferred section along the coast-inland gradient with 70% of all records. The abundance and population size of Usnea species vary considerably between sites. The density is generally below one thallus per 2500 m2, but at some favourable sites we have counted up to 62 thalli per 2500 m2. These sites are humid, relatively warm lowland areas close to sheltered sea surfaces.
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Keywords: BIOGEOGRAPHY; BOREAL ZONE; CLIMATE; DISTRIBUTION; HABITAT; LICHENIZED ASCOMYCETES; NORTH NORWAY; USNEA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Nova Hedwigia is an international journal publishing original, peer-reviewed papers on current issues of taxonomy, morphology, ultrastructure and ecology of all groups of cryptogamic plants, including cyanophytes/cyanobacteria and fungi. The half-tone plates in Nova Hedwigia are known for their high quality, which makes them especially suitable for the reproduction of photomicrographs and scanning and transmission electron micrographs.
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