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Lichen specific thallus mass and secondary compounds change across a retrogressive fire-driven chronosequence

Asplund, Johan and Sandling, Aron and Wardle, David A. (2012). Lichen specific thallus mass and secondary compounds change across a retrogressive fire-driven chronosequence. PloS one. 7 :11 , e49081
[Research article]

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049081


In the long-term absence of major disturbances ecosystems enter a state of retrogression, which involves declining soil fertility and consequently a reduction in decomposition rates. Recent studies have looked at how plant traits such as specific leaf mass and amounts of secondary compounds respond to declining soil fertility during retrogression, but there are no comparable studies for lichen traits despite increasing recognition of the role that lichens can play in ecosystem processes. We studied a group of 30 forested islands in northern Sweden differing greatly in fire history, and collectively representing a retrogressive chronosequence, spanning 5000 years. We used this system to explore how specific thallus mass (STM) and carbon based secondary compounds (CBSCs) change in three common epiphytic lichen species (Hypogymnia phsyodes, Melanohalea olivacea and Parmelia sulcata) as soil fertility declines during this retrogression. We found that STMs of lichens increased sharply during retrogression, and for all species soil N to P ratio (which increased during retrogression) was a strong predictor of STM. When expressed per unit area, medullary CBSCs in all species and cortical CBSCs in P. sulcata increased during retrogression. Meanwhile, when expressed per unit mass, only cortical CBSCs in H. physodes responded to retrogression, and in the opposite direction. Given that lichen functional traits are likely to be important in driving ecological processes that drive nutrient and carbon cycling in the way that plant functional traits are, the changes that they undergo during retrogression could potentially be significant for the functioning of the ecosystem.

Authors/Creators:Asplund, Johan and Sandling, Aron and Wardle, David A.
Title:Lichen specific thallus mass and secondary compounds change across a retrogressive fire-driven chronosequence
Series Name/Journal:PloS one
Year of publishing :8 November 2012
Page range:e49081
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Additional Information:VR-anslag 2010-6553 till JA Wallenberg scholars award till DAW
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F40 Plant ecology
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:boreal forest, epiphytes, phenols, soil fertility, functional traits
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Type of IDID
ID Code:9232
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
External funders:Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and Swedish Research Council
Deposited By: Dr Johan Asplund
Deposited On:14 Nov 2012 08:59
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:53

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