Climate change is already causing considerable reductions in biodiversity in all terrestrial ecosystems. These consequences are expected to be exacerbated in biomes that are particularly exposed to change, such as those in the Mediterranean, and in certain groups of more sensitive organisms, such as epiphytic lichens. These poikylohydric organisms find suitable light and water conditions on trunks under the tree canopy. Despite their small size, epiphytic communities contribute significantly to the functionality of forest ecosystems. In this work, we surveyed epiphytic lichen communities in a Mediterranean area (Sardinia, Italy) and hypothesized that 1) the effect of microclimate on lichens at tree scale is mediated by the functional traits of these organisms and that 2) micro-refuge trees with certain morphological characteristics can mitigate the negative effects of future climate change. Results confirm the first hypothesis, while the second is only partially supported, suggesting that the capability of specific trees to host specific conditions may not be sufficient to maintain the diversity and ecosystem functionality of lichen communities in the Mediterranean.

Little time left. Microrefuges may fail in mitigating the effects of climate change on epiphytic lichens

Malaspina P.;Giordani P.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Climate change is already causing considerable reductions in biodiversity in all terrestrial ecosystems. These consequences are expected to be exacerbated in biomes that are particularly exposed to change, such as those in the Mediterranean, and in certain groups of more sensitive organisms, such as epiphytic lichens. These poikylohydric organisms find suitable light and water conditions on trunks under the tree canopy. Despite their small size, epiphytic communities contribute significantly to the functionality of forest ecosystems. In this work, we surveyed epiphytic lichen communities in a Mediterranean area (Sardinia, Italy) and hypothesized that 1) the effect of microclimate on lichens at tree scale is mediated by the functional traits of these organisms and that 2) micro-refuge trees with certain morphological characteristics can mitigate the negative effects of future climate change. Results confirm the first hypothesis, while the second is only partially supported, suggesting that the capability of specific trees to host specific conditions may not be sufficient to maintain the diversity and ecosystem functionality of lichen communities in the Mediterranean.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1075447
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