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Open AccessArticle

Cross Taxon Congruence Between Lichens and Vascular Plants in a Riparian Ecosystem

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Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Via L. Giorgieri 10, 34127 Trieste, Italy
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Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, Via P.A. Mattioli 4, 53100 Siena, Italy
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Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Botany Division, University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio, 13, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
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Georges Lemaître Institute for Earth and Climate Research, Université catholique de Louvain, Place Louis Pasteur 3, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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Department of Biology, University of Florence, Via G. La Pira 4, 50121 Florence, Italy
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Istituto di Istruzione Superiore “Camaiti”, Via San Lorenzo 18, 52036 Pieve Santo Stefano, Arezzo, Italy
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University Museum System, Natural History Museum of the University of Florence, Botany, Via La Pira 4, 50121 Florence, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(8), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11080133
Received: 23 February 2019 / Revised: 1 August 2019 / Accepted: 6 August 2019 / Published: 13 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
Despite that congruence across taxa has been proved as an effective tool to provide insights into the processes structuring the spatial distribution of taxonomic groups and is useful for conservation purposes, only a few studies on cross-taxon congruence focused on freshwater ecosystems and on the relations among vascular plants and lichens. We hypothesized here that, since vascular plants could be good surrogates of lichens in these ecosystems, it would be possible to assess the overall biodiversity of riparian habitats using plant data only. In this frame, we explored the relationship between (a) species richness and (b) community composition of plants and lichens in a wetland area located in central Italy to (i) assess whether vascular plants are good surrogates of lichens and (ii) to test the congruence of patterns of species richness and composition among plants and lichens along an ecological gradient. The general performance of plant species richness per se, as a biodiversity surrogate of lichens, had poor results. Nonetheless, the congruence in compositional patterns between lichens and vascular plants varied across habitats and was influenced by the characteristics of the vegetation. In general, we discussed how the strength of the studied relationships could be influenced by characteristics of the data (presence/absence vs. abundance), by the spatial scale, and by the features of the habitats. Overall, our data confirm that the more diverse and structurally complex the vegetation is, the more diverse are the lichen communities it hosts. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; co-correspondence analysis; conservation planning; surrogate taxon biodiversity; co-correspondence analysis; conservation planning; surrogate taxon
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Bacaro, G.; Tordoni, E.; Martellos, S.; Maccherini, S.; Marignani, M.; Muggia, L.; Petruzzellis, F.; Napolitano, R.; Da Re, D.; Guidi, T.; Benesperi, R.; Gonnelli, V.; Lastrucci, L. Cross Taxon Congruence Between Lichens and Vascular Plants in a Riparian Ecosystem. Diversity 2019, 11, 133.

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