Bryophyte and lichen diversity: a comparative study

Emma J. Pharo*, Andrew J. Beattie

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    53 Citations (Scopus)


    We describe the regional species richness, variation in species richness and species turnover of bryophytes and lichens from 36 sites in lowland forests of southeastern Australia. The analyses subdivided the two major taxa into their constituent sub-groups: mosses, liverworts, and crustose, fruticose and foliose lichens. They also explored correlations between selected environmental variables and patterns of diversity. On a regional scale, there were 77 species of bryophytes and 69 species of lichens, giving a total of approximately one-third of the total number of vascular plant species in the region. Mean species richness was higher for lichens than bryophytes. Also, the two taxa were negatively correlated because lichens favoured dry sites and bryophytes favoured moist ones. Species turnover was greater for bryophytes than lichens, largely due to the distribution of liverwort species. Foliose lichens showed higher levels of turnover than crustose lichens. Multiple regression and canonical correspondence analysis showed that both taxa and all sub-groups responded to the same three variables: vascular plant cover, time since last fire and topographic position. Other variables, including time since logging and intensity of logging, explained little variation in bryophyte or lichen diversity. The data suggest that the strategies for the conservation of bryophyte and lichen biodiversity will be different, to reflect the different patterns of species richness and species turnover.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-162
    Number of pages12
    JournalAustral Ecology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


    • alpha diversity
    • beta diversity
    • bryophyte
    • fire
    • lichen


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