The influence of environment on foliose lichen growth and its biological significance

R.A. Armstrong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)


Radial growth and growth in mass of lichens is influenced by climatic and microclimatic factors and also by substratum factors such as rock and bark texture, chemistry, and nutrient enrichment. Seasonal fluctuations in growth, as measured by radial growth rate (RaGR) per month, often correlate best with average or total rainfall, the number of rain days, or rainfall in a specific season. Temperature is also considered to be an important climatic factor in some studies. Interactions between microclimatic factors and especially light intensity, temperature, and moisture are the most important in determining local annual growth rates. The physical and chemical nature of the substratum has a profound influence on the growth of foliose lichens. Hence, the effects of texture, porosity, rate of drying, and the physical changes of the substratum on growth are likely to influence lichen distributions. Bird droppings may influence growth and survival by smothering the thalli, altering the pH, or adding inhibitory and stimulatory compounds. Nitrogen and phosphate availability may also influence growth. Chemical factors may also have an important influence on lichens of maritime rocks, the effect of salinity and calcium ions being of particular importance. Zinc, copper, and mercury may also be important in lichen growth as they have been shown to affect the chlorophyll content of lichen algae. Effects of environmental factors on growth influence the competitive ability of lichens thus influencing their ecology and distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironmental and agricultural researcher biographical sketches and research summaries
EditorsLucille T. Cacioppo
Place of PublicationHauppage, NY (US)
PublisherNova science
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63117-031-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-63117-029-4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014

Publication series

NameEnvironmental research advances


  • lichen growth
  • foliose lichen
  • environmental factors
  • climate
  • microclimate
  • substratum
  • competition


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