Up in the Tree - The Overlooked Richness of Bryophytes and Lichens in Tree Crowns

Boch, Steffen; Mueller, Joerg; Prati, Daniel; Blaser, Stefan; Fischer, Markus (2013). Up in the Tree - The Overlooked Richness of Bryophytes and Lichens in Tree Crowns. PLoS ONE, 8(12), e84913. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0084913

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Assessing diversity is among the major tasks in ecology and conservation science. In ecological and conservation studies, epiphytic cryptogams are usually sampled up to accessible heights in forests. Thus, their diversity, especially of canopy specialists, likely is underestimated. If the proportion of those species differs among forest types, plot-based diversity assessments are biased and may result in misleading conservation recommendations. We sampled bryophytes and lichens in 30 forest plots of 20 m x 20 m in three German regions, considering all substrates, and including epiphytic litter fall. First, the sampling of epiphytic species was restricted to the lower 2 m of trees and shrubs. Then, on one representative tree per plot, we additionally recorded epiphytic species in the crown, using tree climbing techniques. Per tree, on average 54% of lichen and 20% of bryophyte species were overlooked if the crown was not been included. After sampling all substrates per plot, including the bark of all shrubs and trees, still 38% of the lichen and 4% of the bryophyte species were overlooked if the tree crown of the sampled tree was not included. The number of overlooked lichen species varied strongly among regions. Furthermore, the number of overlooked bryophyte and lichen species per plot was higher in European beech than in coniferous stands and increased with increasing diameter at breast height of the sampled tree. Thus, our results indicate a bias of comparative studies which might have led to misleading conservation recommendations of plot-based diversity assessments.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Boch, Steffen; Prati, Daniel; Blaser, Stefan and Fischer, Markus

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

21 Feb 2014 10:56

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 01:46

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0084913

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.40899

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/40899

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