Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Covariance of lichen and vascular plant floras

January 1, 1999

The geographic relationships among taxonomic groups are important to study to determine patterns of biodiversity and whether or not associations occur between large groups, e.g., birds and vascular plants. This study was undertaken to determine relationships between higher plants and lower plants, specifically vascular plant and lichen floras in nine national parks of the Great Lakes region. No significant relationship was found between vascular plant floras and lichen floras in this area, which spans 1200 km longitudinally, or between an additional 19 areas from North America that were less than 1000 km(2) in area. For areas larger than 1000 km(2), however, a significant positive relationship existed for 33 areas that span one to approximately 150 million km(2). The ratio of numbers of vascular plants to lichens appeared to average just over 6 across the 33 areas. In the Great Lakes parks, between 28-30% of either the vascular plant or lichen species were singletons (occurring in only one park), but the parks that contained the most singletons were not congruent: Isle Royale had the most singleton lichens, while Indiana Dunes had the most vascular plant singletons. Fewer lichen species (2%) than vascular plants (4%) occurred in all nine parks. Latitude appeared to explain some of the variation between the two groups: vascular plants decreased with increasing latitude, while lichens increased.

Publication Year 1999
Title Covariance of lichen and vascular plant floras
Authors J. P. Bennett, C. M. Wetmore
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Rhodora
Index ID 1003708
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center