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Lichen decline in areas with increased nitrogen deposition might be explained by parasitic fungi: A survey of parasitic fungi on the lichen Alectoria sarmentosa after 4 years of nitrogen fertilisation
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Nitrogen (N) deposition in Europe has recently increased and is expected to continue to increase in the future. There is a well-documented decline in lichen diversity with higher N availability, although the mechanisms behind this are poorly known. In this study, I tested whether attacks by fungal parasites increase with higher N deposition. This pattern has been found in a number of studies on vascular plants, but it has never been investigated for lichens. I surveyed dark lesions and discolourings caused by fungi on the pollution-sensitive lichen Alectoria sarmentosa, after 4 years of increased N deposition in a whole tree fertilisation experiment in a boreal spruce forest. I found two species of fungi growing on the investigated lichen thalli. One of these species responded positively to increased N deposition. The results show that lichens can suffer from increased parasite attacks under a higher N load. Further studies using multiple lichen species and many years of recording are needed to understand the importance of parasites for the response of whole lichen communities to an increased N load.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
parasitic fungi, lichen diversity, Alectoria sarmentosa, nitrogen deposition
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-39727OAI: diva2:395392
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-06-09 Created: 2011-02-06 Last updated: 2011-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Ström, Caspar
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