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TWENTY-THREE YEARS OF GROWTH MEASUREMENTS ON THE CRUSTOSE LICHEN CALOPLACA AURANTIA IN THE CENTRAL NEGEV DESERT

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Over a period of 23 years, growth rates of primarily circular thalli of the crustose epilithic lichen Caloplaca aurantia (Pers.) Hellb. var. aurantia Poelt were measured in the highlands of the Negev Desert near Avdat. Thalli with an area greater than 3 to 4 cm2have reached the “linear phase” of growth, i.e., they show an almost constant annual increment in their radius. In an average of 11 samples, this growth amounted to 0.371 mm yr−1. In order to determine the width of the marginal annulus which contributes to the extension growth of the lichen, different portions of the center of some of the thalli were removed. A remaining annulus with a width of 12 mm provides sufficient assimilates for unimpaired centrifugal growth, which was not the case with an annulus 6 mm in width. Thalli of Diploschistes calcareus (Müll. Arg.) Stein., another crustose lichen species, showed an annual radial growth increment of 0.17 mm yr−1; however, data from only two samples could be collected. From diameter and growth rate measurements, the age of circular thalli was calculated. It can be cautiously estimated that a Caloplaca aurantia thallus 10 cm in diameter has an age of about 135 years. Because the largest thallus of this species found near Avdat can be estimated to have an age of about 500 years, it is certainly one of the oldest “individual” organisms in this area.

Affiliations: 1: Lehrstuhl für Botanik der Universität Würzburg

10.1080/0021213X.1990.10677162
/content/journals/10.1080/0021213x.1990.10677162
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/content/journals/10.1080/0021213x.1990.10677162
1990-05-13
2018-09-20

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