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Host Specificity of Epiphytic Lichens and Bryophytes: A Comparison of the Adirondack Mountains (New York) and the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains (North Carolina)

Claire K. Schmitt and Nancy G. Slack
The Bryologist
Vol. 93, No. 3 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 257-274
DOI: 10.2307/3243509
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3243509
Page Count: 18
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Host Specificity of Epiphytic Lichens and Bryophytes: A Comparison of the Adirondack Mountains (New York) and the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains (North Carolina)
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Abstract

Epiphytic lichens and bryophytes were studied on five major tree species occurring in two forest regions over 1,200 km apart, the Adirondack Mountains, New York and the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina. The trees were Acer saccharum, A. rubrum, Betula alleghaniensis, Fagus grandifolia, and Tsuga canadensis. Comparison of species composition and ordinations using quantitative frequency and cover measurements for the five major tree species showed that very few species were host specific, but that most communities of lichens, of bryophytes, and of both combined, were specific to particular tree species. Climate and plant geography proved important to host specificity of these cryptogamic communities. Many more species of lichens than bryophytes occurred as epiphytes; crustose lichens were particularly important in the Adirondacks. Higher diversity of lichen epiphytes, particularly foliose, in the Southern Appalachians influenced differences in host specificity between the two regions. Comparisons are made with previous epiphyte studies in Eastern North America.

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