Special Issue "Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Paolo Giordani

Dipartimento di Farmacia, Università di Genova, Viale Cembrano 4, 16148, Genova, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: lichens; biomonitoring; anthropogenic disturbance; air pollution; conservation; Mediterranean; forest ecology; functional traits

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Unlike vascular plants, which take nutrients mainly from the soil through roots, lichens only depend on the atmosphere for nutrition. For this reason, they respond directly to atmospheric pollutants and they have been successfully used for the biomonitoring of air pollution. Pollution may affect lichens at different levels of biological organization, by determining, e.g., alterations in community diversity and composition. Apart from assessing the effects of gaseous pollutants, biomonitoring approaches were recently extended to a suite of other anthropogenic disturbances, such as forest management or climate change.

Several standard protocols for lichen diversity assessment have been recently proposed both in Europe and in the US, supporting a worldwide application of these techniques from local to Continental scales. However, considerable gaps of knowledge still remain about the factors and the dynamics driving the shift of lichen communities under the effects of anthropogenic disturbances.

In this Diversity Special Issue, entitled “Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring”, we aim to increase the knowledge on the above-mentioned aspects. We encourage researchers to send their manuscript on the following topics:

  • Empirical studies on the effects of emerging air pollutants on lichen communities;
  • Investigating environmental factors, as covariates of lichen diversity;
  • Temporal and spatial patterns of lichen diversity as a function of disturbances;
  • Monitoring climate change by means of lichen diversity shifts;
  • Effects of forest management on lichen communities and populations;
  • The use of lichen functional traits in biomonitoring;
  • Theoretical aspects related to the quantification and to the interpretation of lichen diversity.

Dr. Paolo Giordani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 850 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Epiphytic Lichen Species Distribution in a Managed Mediterranean Pinus nigra Arnold Forest
Diversity 2019, 11(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11040059
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 15 April 2019
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Abstract
Lichens have important ecological functions in black pine forests, such as nitrogen fixation and nutrient cycling. Understanding lichen diversity could provide a better understanding of black pine ecosystems. The aim of this study was to identify the factors affecting the composition of lichen [...] Read more.
Lichens have important ecological functions in black pine forests, such as nitrogen fixation and nutrient cycling. Understanding lichen diversity could provide a better understanding of black pine ecosystems. The aim of this study was to identify the factors affecting the composition of lichen communities and their specific diversity in Mediterranean black pine forests. Research was conducted in 48 sampling plots. For the analysis, presence–absence and frequency data of lichen species were used. For stand level analysis, four community composition tables were created. We used bioclimate, topography, stand, and parent rock as variables. A total of 33 epiphytic lichen species were identified in the black pine forests from 282 sampled trees. Indicator lichen species were determined according to geographic region and stand age classes. Hypocenomyce scalaris was found to be an indicator species for old forests. Frequency data were more useful for revealing lichen species composition than presence–absence data. Of the topographic variables, elevation was the most prominent and had the highest explanation ratio for the composition of lichen species with a coefficient of correlation (R2) value of 0.49. Significantly positive (p < 0.001) relationships were found between epiphytic lichen richness and tree crown height, tree height, and bark pH. Our results revealed that to retain the trees in the stands rich in lichen species diversity is recommended in the managed forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessArticle Testing the Poleotolerance Lichen Response Trait as an Indicator of Anthropic Disturbance in an Urban Environment
Diversity 2019, 11(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11040055
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 1 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 6 April 2019
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Abstract
Urban environments are densely populated areas buzzing with a wide range of anthropic activities that cause disturbances like air pollution or the heat island effect, threatening both human and environmental health. Mitigating its impacts implies understanding the integrated effects that those disturbances exert [...] Read more.
Urban environments are densely populated areas buzzing with a wide range of anthropic activities that cause disturbances like air pollution or the heat island effect, threatening both human and environmental health. Mitigating its impacts implies understanding the integrated effects that those disturbances exert on urban environments. Lichen biodiversity is frequently used as an ecological indicator, being able to integrate its effects in a quantifiable way. The poleotolerance response trait classifies lichens according to their tolerance to human disturbance, but it was developed for Italy’s flora and has seldom been applied outside Italy or in urban context studies. The aim of this work was to assess this trait suitability as an indicator of urban anthropic disturbance and test it outside Italy. For that, we sampled lichen diversity in 41 green spaces in Lisbon. Lichens were classified into the respective poleotolerance trait functional groups and their community weighted mean related with three type of environmental variables used as surrogates of urban disturbance. We showed that disturbance-tolerant functional groups could be used as an ecological indicator of the integrated effects of environmental disturbances. Some species were clearly misclassified, so we propose reclassification for those. Natural and seminatural functional groups did not behave as expected. Nevertheless, disturbance-tolerant functional groups have the potential to be used in in other Southern European cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessArticle Using Growth Forms to Predict Epiphytic Lichen Abundance in a Wide Variety of Forest Types
Diversity 2019, 11(4), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11040051
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 1 April 2019
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Abstract
Epiphytic richness is continuously declining due to forest fragmentation, logging, burning, agriculture, and livestock. The rate of species loss caused by habitat degradation and loss is more pronounced in Central and South America. Considering the extreme difficulty and time required to identify the [...] Read more.
Epiphytic richness is continuously declining due to forest fragmentation, logging, burning, agriculture, and livestock. The rate of species loss caused by habitat degradation and loss is more pronounced in Central and South America. Considering the extreme difficulty and time required to identify the more inconspicuous species, rapid diversity assessment methods need to be extrapolated throughout the world. This study correlated lichen growth forms and total epiphytic abundance across 119 forests located in Europe and Central-South America. A total of 54 papers were selected from specific databases focused on lichens. Additionally, data from several unpublished ecological studies were included. Linear regression models showed that epiphytic lichen abundance was highly and positively correlated with the number of growth forms at all geographical levels considered (i.e., Central-South American and European forests, and the combination of both). Thus, the use of growth forms may provide an alternative and complementary way to evaluate epiphytic diversity because most growth forms have cosmopolitan distribution and are easily recognizable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessArticle Do Different Teams Produce Different Results in Long-Term Lichen Biomonitoring?
Diversity 2019, 11(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11030043
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
Lichen biomonitoring programs focus on temporal variations in epiphytic lichen communities in relation to the effects of atmospheric pollution. As repeated surveys are planned at medium to long term intervals, the alternation of different operators is often possible. This involves the need to [...] Read more.
Lichen biomonitoring programs focus on temporal variations in epiphytic lichen communities in relation to the effects of atmospheric pollution. As repeated surveys are planned at medium to long term intervals, the alternation of different operators is often possible. This involves the need to consider the effect of non-sampling errors (e.g., observer errors). Here we relate the trends of lichen communities in repeated surveys with the contribution of different teams of specialists involved in sampling. For this reason, lichen diversity data collected in Italy within several ongoing biomonitoring programs have been considered. The variations of components of gamma diversity between the surveys have been related to the composition of the teams of operators. As a major result, the composition of the teams significantly affected data comparability: Similarity (S), Species Replacement (R), and Richness Difference (D) showed significant differences between “same” and “partially” versus “different” teams, with characteristics trends over time. The results suggest a more careful interpretation of temporal variations in biomonitoring studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessArticle Lichens and Bromeliads as Bioindicators of Heavy Metal Deposition in Ecuador
Diversity 2019, 11(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11020028
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
We evaluated heavy metal deposition in Parmotrema arnoldii and Tillandsia usneoides in response to air pollution in Loja city, Ecuador. We assessed heavy metal (cadmium, copper, manganese, lead and zinc) content in these organisms at nine study sites inside Loja city and three [...] Read more.
We evaluated heavy metal deposition in Parmotrema arnoldii and Tillandsia usneoides in response to air pollution in Loja city, Ecuador. We assessed heavy metal (cadmium, copper, manganese, lead and zinc) content in these organisms at nine study sites inside Loja city and three control sites in nearby forests. Concentrations of all studied heavy metals (i.e., cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn)) were highest in downtown Loja. Our study confirms that passive monitoring using lichens and/or bromeliads can be an efficient tool to evaluate heavy metal deposition related to urbanization (e.g., vehicle emissions). We recommend these organisms to be used in cost-effective monitoring of air pollution in tropical countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Climate Change, Bioclimatic Models and the Risk to Lichen Diversity
Diversity 2019, 11(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11040054
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 4 April 2019
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Abstract
This paper provides an overview of bioclimatic models applied to lichen species, supporting their potential use in this context as indicators of climate change risk. First, it provides a brief summary of climate change risk, pointing to the relevance of lichens as a [...] Read more.
This paper provides an overview of bioclimatic models applied to lichen species, supporting their potential use in this context as indicators of climate change risk. First, it provides a brief summary of climate change risk, pointing to the relevance of lichens as a topic area. Second, it reviews the past use of lichen bioclimatic models, applied for a range of purposes with respect to baseline climate, and the application of data sources, statistical methods, model extents and resolution and choice of predictor variables. Third, it explores additional challenges to the use of lichen bioclimatic models, including: 1. The assumption of climatically controlled lichen distributions, 2. The projection to climate change scenarios, and 3. The issue of nonanalogue climates and model transferability. Fourth, the paper provides a reminder that bioclimatic models estimate change in the extent or range of a species suitable climate space, and that an outcome will be determined by vulnerability responses, including potential for migration, adaptation, and acclimation, within the context of landscape habitat quality. The degree of exposure to climate change, estimated using bioclimatic models, can help to inform an understanding of whether vulnerability responses are sufficient for species resilience. Fifth, the paper draws conclusions based on its overview, highlighting the relevance of bioclimatic models to conservation, support received from observational data, and pointing the way towards mechanistic approaches that align with field-scale climate change experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessReview Could Hair-Lichens of High-Elevation Forests Help Detect the Impact of Global Change in the Alps?
Diversity 2019, 11(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11030045
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
Climate change and the anthropic emission of pollutants are likely to have an accelerated impact in high-elevation mountain areas. This phenomenon could have negative consequences on alpine habitats and for species of conservation in relative proximity to dense human populations. This premise implies [...] Read more.
Climate change and the anthropic emission of pollutants are likely to have an accelerated impact in high-elevation mountain areas. This phenomenon could have negative consequences on alpine habitats and for species of conservation in relative proximity to dense human populations. This premise implies that the crucial task is in the early detection of warning signals of ecological changes. In alpine landscapes, high-elevation forests provide a unique environment for taking full advantage of epiphytic lichens as sensitive indicators of climate change and air pollution. This literature review is intended to provide a starting point for developing practical biomonitoring tools that elucidate the potential of hair-lichens, associated with high-elevation forests, as ecological indicators of global change in the European Alps. We found support for the practical use of hair-lichens to detect the impact of climate change and nitrogen pollution in high-elevation forest habitats. The use of these organisms as ecological indicators presents an opportunity to expand monitoring activities and develop predictive tools that support decisions on how to mitigate the effects of global change in the Alps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessReview Antarctic Studies Show Lichens to be Excellent Biomonitors of Climate Change
Diversity 2019, 11(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11030042
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 March 2019 / Published: 19 March 2019
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Abstract
Lichens have been used as biomonitors for multiple purposes. They are well-known as air pollution indicators around urban and industrial centers. More recently, several attempts have been made to use lichens as monitors of climate change especially in alpine and polar regions. In [...] Read more.
Lichens have been used as biomonitors for multiple purposes. They are well-known as air pollution indicators around urban and industrial centers. More recently, several attempts have been made to use lichens as monitors of climate change especially in alpine and polar regions. In this paper, we review the value of saxicolous lichens for monitoring environmental changes in Antarctic regions. The pristine Antarctica offers a unique opportunity to study the effects of climate change along a latitudinal gradient that extends between 62° and 87° S. Both lichen species diversity and thallus growth rate seem to show significant correlations to mean annual temperature for gradients across the continent as well as to short time climate oscillation in the Antarctic Peninsula. Competition interactions appear to be small so that individual thalli develop in balance with environmental conditions and, as a result, can indicate the trends in productivity for discrete time intervals over long periods of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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Open AccessReview May the Diversity of Epiphytic Lichens Be Used in Environmental Forensics?
Diversity 2019, 11(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11030036
Received: 9 February 2019 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 28 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
Epiphytic (tree inhabiting) lichens, well-known biomonitors of atmospheric pollution, have a great potential for being used in environmental forensics. Monitoring changes in biodiversity is a useful method for evaluating the quality of an ecosystem. Lichen species occurring within an area show measurable responses [...] Read more.
Epiphytic (tree inhabiting) lichens, well-known biomonitors of atmospheric pollution, have a great potential for being used in environmental forensics. Monitoring changes in biodiversity is a useful method for evaluating the quality of an ecosystem. Lichen species occurring within an area show measurable responses to environmental changes, and lichen biodiversity counts can be taken as reliable estimates of environmental quality, with high values corresponding to unpolluted or low polluted conditions and low values to polluted ones. Lichen diversity studies may be very useful in the framework of environmental forensics, since they may highlight the biological effects of pollutants and constitute the base for epidemiological studies. It is thus of paramount importance that great care is taken in the interpretation of the results, especially in the context of a rapidly changing environment and facing global change scenarios. For this reason, it seems advisable to produce several zonal maps, each based on different species groups, and each interpreted in a different way. This exercise could also be a valid support in the framework of a sensitivity analysis, to support or reject the primary results. In addition, a clear and formal expression of the overall uncertainty of the outputs is absolutely necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichen Diversity and Biomonitoring)
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