Patterns of bryophyte and lichen diversity in bogs and Tepualia stipularis forests of Northern Patagonia (Chile): evidence of a novel ecosystem in southern South America

Carolina A. León, Gisela Oliván-Martínez, Gisela Oliván-Martínez, Juan Larraín, Juan Larraín, Reinaldo Vargas, Reinaldo Vargas

Abstract


Bryophytes and lichens are an important component of biodiversity. Nevertheless, these cryptogamic groups are rarely included in floristic and ecological studies in southern South America. We present the first comparison of patterns of alpha and beta diversity of bryophytes and macrolichens in peatlands and Tepualia stipularis forests (TF) on Isla Grande de Chiloé, Chile. Two kinds of Sphagnum peatlands were studied, which were defined according to their origin and their vegetation, natural peatlands (GP) and anthropogenic peatlands (AP). A total of 86 species were found: 42 liverworts, 29 mosses and 14 lichens. The most species-rich sites were AP with a total of 52 species, followed by TF with 45 species, and GP with 21 species. The total bryo-lichenic diversity reported in this study was considerably higher than that reported in other studies for Patagonian peatlands. The three types of studied habitats showed significant differences  in species richness and diversity indices. We found clear distinctions between the three habitat types, with significant differences in the floristic composition of GP, AP, and TP. Moreover, AP presented a species composition that has not been previously documented in TF or GP. They are the result of human action, but do not depend on continued human intervention for their maintenance. Therefore, here we propose to denominate AP as a novel ecosystem.


Keywords


biodiversity patterns; emerging ecosystem; liverworts; macrolichens; mosses

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17129/botsci.555

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ISSN: 2007-4476
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