Effect of rock climbing on the calcicolous lichen community of limestone cliffs in the northern Swiss Jura Mountains

Baur, Bruno and Froeberg, Lars and Mueller, Stefan W.. (2007) Effect of rock climbing on the calcicolous lichen community of limestone cliffs in the northern Swiss Jura Mountains. Nova Hedwigia, 85, Nr. 3/4. pp. 429-444.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5248954

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Exposed limestone cliffs in the Swiss Jura Mountains harbour a diverse lichen community with some rare species. Sport climbing has recently increased in popularity on these cliffs. We examined the effect of sport climbing on calcicolous lichens by assessing species diversity and cover of lichens in climbed and unclimbed areas of 10 isolated cliffs in the northern Swiss Jura Mountains. We also investigated possible associations between lichens and lichen-feeding land snails on these cliffs. A total of 38 calcicolous lichen species, three bryophytes and one alga were found on the rock faces of 10 cliffs. Twenty lichen species (52.6 and two (5.3 8.3 species 0.03 total number of lichen species, species density (number of species per 100 cm(2)) or total lichen cover. However, the frequency of occurrence of epilithic lichens was lower along climbing routes than in unclimbed areas. A multi-response permutation test showed that the lichen community composition of climbed areas differed from that of unclimbed areas. The dissimilarity of lichen communities between climbed and unclimbed areas increased with increasing climbing intensity on the focal route in climbed areas, but not with the age of the climbing route. Five of the 11 snail species recorded on the cliff faces were specialized lichen feeders. Plots along climbing routes harboured fewer snail species than plots in unclimbed areas. Total snail abundance was positively correlated with lichen species richness, but no correlation between snail species richness and lichen species richness was found. Our results indicate that frequent rock climbing can change the lichen community and reduce the snail community of limestone cliffs. A climbing-related reduction of snail abundance may also alter the lichen-herbivore interaction and indirectly change competitive interactions among lichen species.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Baur, Bruno
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:J. Cramer
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:14 Sep 2012 06:53
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:04

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