Concentrations of 10 Elements in 2 Common Foliose Lichens - Leachability, Seasonality, and the Influence of Rock and Tree Bark Substrates

  • Prussia C
  • Killingbeck K
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Abstract

Concentrations of ten elements were studied in two morphologically similar species of foliose lichens (Flavoparmelia baltimorensis and F. caperata) that grow on tree bark and granite boulders in Rhode Island, to document the influence of substrates on thallus element content. There were large differences in the concentrations of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc between F. baltimorensis thalli growing on granite boulders and thalli growing on adjacent Quercus bark. The large differences in calcium concentrations between epiphytic (0.08% Ca) and epilithic (0.73%) Ca) F. baltimorensis thalli were due to substrate differences rather than atmosphere or precipitation differences. Concentrations of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, and zinc were higher in F. baltimorensis and F. caperata thalli growing on Q. borealis bark than in thalli growing on Q. alba bark. Comparisons between lichen thalli growing on different Quercus species corroborated the influence of substrate element content on thallus element concentrations for some elements, but not others. Zinc was the only element that was significantly higher in one Flavoparmelia species than the other when both grew on the same bark substrate. Leaching experiments indicated that the ten elements measured were not easily leached from F. baltimorensis thalli and that these thalli did not contain high amounts of soluble surface deposits when collected. Phosphorus (250% higher in winter than summer) and sodium (27% higher in summer than winter) exhibited the highest temporal variations in F. baltimorensis thalli.

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Authors

  • Celeste M Prussia

  • Keith Thomas Killingbeck

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