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Differential Wetting in Some Lichens and Mosses: The Role of Morphology

D. W. Larson
The Bryologist
Vol. 84, No. 1 (Spring, 1981), pp. 1-15
DOI: 10.2307/3242973
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3242973
Page Count: 15
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Differential Wetting in Some Lichens and Mosses: The Role of Morphology
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Abstract

The effect of morphology on water uptake was examined in eleven species of lichen and three species of moss, using a "raining" wind tunnel environment. Experiments were conducted using a variety of species to test for the influence of specific morphological features such as rhizines, isidia, papules, apothecia and lamellae, in the control of water uptake and storage. Experiments were also conducted to test for the effect of variation in overall morphology on water uptake in lichens and mosses. The results show that rhizines play a major role in the water relations of some species, but not in all. Apothecia in Umbilicaria muhlenbergii have no role in water uptake, nor do the surface papules of U. papulosa or the surface isidia of U. deusta, although the lamellae of U. muhlenbergii are exceedingly important. The upper and lower cortices of lichens were also shown to have a variable capacity for water absorption. The variation in the amount of time required to achieve saturation was the same in the lichens and mosses. This time varied from three minutes in P. juniperinum to over 300 minutes in Stereocaulon saxatile. Plants with a large surface area to weight ratio absorb water at an exceedingly rapid rate. Conversely, any poikilohydric plant showing a low surface area to weight ratio absorbs water very slowly.

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