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Lichen Biodiversity across EIevationaI Gradient in Pindari GIacier

VaIIey of Uttarakhand, India

Santosh Joshi

D. K. Upreti
and PuIak Das
Lichenology laboratory, National Botanical Research nstitute, Lucknow-226001, ndia
Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, Assam University, Silchar-788011, ndia
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The lichen biodiversity pattern across elevational gradient in Pindari Glacier valley was studied, using
different diversity indices. The study was done across elevational gradient ranging from 1760m to 3660m
consisting of three different biomes; temperate, alpine, and temperate-alpine transition. A total of 84 species
of lichens were found consisting of three major growth forms and three habitat preferences. Shannon,
Pielou, and Margalef indices showed similar trends, while the Simpson index showed a slightly different
trend. Except Simpson index all other indices exhibit a positive trend with the altitude. n case of growth
forms, except foliose growth form all other are showing a positive trend with increasing altitude. t is also
observed that the corticolous lichen dominates (~90%) in temperate and temperate-alpine transition, and
saxicolous lichens dominate (98%) in Alpine zone. Although relational study between elevational gradient
with higher plants are done, but with lichens it is one of the first type in western Himalayas.
KEYWORDS: Alpine, Bageshwar district, Diversity indices, Elevational gradient, Lichen, Temperate.
JournaI of FunctionaI and EnvironmentaI Botany
VoIume 1, Number 2, November, 2011, 122-132
Research ArticIe
The higher terrain ecosystems have a Iundamental
characteristic oI drastic change in Iloral composition as
well as in climate Irom the base to the summit oI alpine.
Elevation gradients create diIIerent climatic conditions,
along with resultant change in soil composition, and
promote the diversiIication oI plant species |Brown 2001;
Lomolino 2001|. To understand ecosystem eIIects on
biodiversity and its conservation several studies have been
carried out to relate species richness along altitudinal
gradient across habitats and taxa |Tilman and Downing
1994; Rahbek 1995, 1997; Austrheim 2002; Vetaas and
Grytnes 2002; Sanders et al. 2003|. In addition, the
apparent associations between species distribution across
elevational gradients may help to understand the possible
consequences oI climate change. The regional patterns oI
species richness are an outcome oI the many interacting
Iactors |Woodward 1988; Palmer 1991; Eriksson 1996;
Zobel 1997; Criddle et al. 2003|. According to Rahbek
|1995, 1997|, there are generally three patterns oI species
richness; a monotonic decline in species richness Irom low
to high elevation, a hump-shaped pattern with maximum
at mid-elevations and a constant Irom the lowlands to mid-
elevations Iollowed by a strong decline Iurther up.
The present study was conducted with an aim to
investigate the main distribution patterns oI lichen species
across elevational gradient in Iive diIIerent biomes oI the
Pindari Glacier valley oI Kumaun Himalaya, with particular
reIerence to understand the trends in their Iloral
composition, species diversity, abundance, habitat
preIerences, and growth-Iorm adaptations across
temperate to alpine regions. Discussion is also made about
the eIIect oI temperate-alpine transition zone in continuation
oI these trends.
The sites surveyed Ior lichens are randomly selected areas
in various localities (Figure 1) oI Pindari region. A total oI