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Surrogates for cryptogam conservation - associations between mosses, macrofungi, vascular plants and environmental variables.

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McMullan-Fisher, SJM (2008) Surrogates for cryptogam conservation - associations between mosses, macrofungi, vascular plants and environmental variables. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Cryptogams are rarely included in conservation planning and
management. This study aims to improve the data available for
cryptogam conservation by focusing on two groups of cryptogams,
mosses and macrofungi, to test the usefulness of vegetation type,
vascular plants and environmental variables, including substrate, as
surrogates for cryptogams in achieving satisfactory conservation
outcomes.
Sites from four vegetation types (wet forest, heathy woodland, grassy
woodland and alpine heath) in the Hobart region of Tasmania were
surveyed over a period of several years for vascular plants, mosses and
epigeous macrofungi using permanent plots. Repeated sampling of the
macrofungi ensured that a reasonable proportion of the taxa likely to be
present were recorded. A total of 284 vascular plants, 71 mosses and
233 macrofungi were recorded.
Ordination and analysis of similarity both showed that the four vegetation
types were significantly different from each other; this pattern occurred
for vascular plants, mosses and macrofungi. Congruence between the
three taxonomic groups was tested using Partial Mantel tests; all pairwise
associations were highly significant, showing highly predictive rvalues.
Significant and predictive associations occurred between
environmental and substrate variables and biotic groups (vascular plants,
mosses and macrofungi, and their various subsets). Canopy cover was
the best single predictor of most biotic groups. Particular combinations of
significant environmental variables had higher correlations with biotic
groups than single variables, for example the combination of altitude,
canopy cover and geology had higher r-values than any of these factors
individually. Mosses and macrofungi exhibited high substrate fidelity
across time and space. Substrate preferences of macrofungi did not vary
among vegetation types, but mosses in wet forest occurred on a wider
range of substrates than the same species in other vegetation types. Iterative, optimisation, fully random and stratified random methods were
compared for their effectiveness in the selection of sites for the
conservation of vascular plants, mosses and macrofungi. When 10% of
sites were selected for reservation there was little commonality in site
selection between the three taxonomic groups. When 30% of sites were
selected, at least 48% of all taxa were reserved by all approaches tested.
The most useful data sets for selecting sites representative of the three
taxonomic groups were vascular plants, named species from all three
taxonomic groups and sites selected randomly with equal proportions of
each vegetation type.
The results suggest that coarse scale conservation of vegetation types
with reservation of at least 30% of their area should conserve common
mosses and macrofungi. However, at the site scale, uncommon taxa (i.e.
taxa only found on a single site) of mosses and macrofungi are not
concordant with vascular plants. Associations of moss and macrofungal
species with particular substrates and microhabitats may assist with site
selections for reservation. For adequate management, further research is
required on the occurrence and substrate and habitat specificity of rare
taxa.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Cryptogams; moss; macrofungi; conservation planning; Tasmania; substrate fidelity; vegetation type; environmental factors;
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2009 05:06
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:53
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