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Laboratory growth experiments with lichens based on distribution in nature



Laboratory growth experiments with lichens based on distribution in nature



Bryologist 80(2): 317-327



Six species of lichens [Evernia mesomorpha, Parmelia subrudecta, Usnea comosa, P. sulcata, Hypogymnia physodes, P. caperata], collected on trees in a Minnesota bog, were maintained in the laboratory at Ricks College [Idaho, USA]. Analysis of the distributional pattern of these lichens in nature suggested that 4 of the species require considerable variability in humidity in order to grow, whereas the other 2 are not very demanding in this respect. Furthermore, 3 of the 6 species, including the 2 that tolerate relatively uniform humidity, appear to be sensitive to variation in temperature, whereas the other 3 species are not. To test to what extent this type of information might be used in maintaining lichens in the laboratory, experimental treatments were set up which exposed some specimens to variation in humidity, others to variation in temperature, others to both and still others to neither. When exposed to the conditions that were predicted to be best, some of the lichens increased in weight during the 12 wks they were maintained in the laboratory. Most of the 189 specimens, however, lost weight, although the loss was least under the regimes where best growth had been predicted. Enough information has now been gained to make it possible to conduct long term experiments in the laboratory with intact lichens, maintaining them in a relatively healthy condition for several weeks or months as needed.

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Accession: 005787932

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DOI: 10.2307/3242476


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