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Habitat associations and distribution model for Fuscopannaria leucosticta in Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Kara PEARSON (a1), Robert CAMERON (a2) and R. Troy MCMULLIN (a3)

Fuscopannaria leucosticta is a rare and understudied cyanolichen with an interesting and unusual distribution in tertiary relict hotspots worldwide. There is a relatively large population in eastern North America, where it occurs mostly throughout the Appalachian Mountains and reaches its northernmost extent in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. The ability to detect this species, and thus determine its habitat requirements, is critical for understanding how it might be affected by human-induced environmental degradation. Maximum entropy modelling with MaxEnt was used to predict the distribution of suitable habitat for this species in Nova Scotia using 62 presence locations, 1405 pseudo-absence locations and four environmental covariates: depth to water table (a proxy for relative soil moisture), distance to the coast and mean annual temperature and precipitation. Our predictive maps identify important habitat features and areas of high suitability in Nova Scotia with an area under the curve value of 0·85. The predicted distribution of this lichen was most affected by temperature. This study elucidates locations as well as species-habitat relationships for F. leucosticta, providing land managers with baseline data that can aid in the discovery of additional populations and provide a better understanding of its ecological requirements which will support the development of sound conservation strategies for this rare lichen.

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The Lichenologist
  • ISSN: 0024-2829
  • EISSN: 1096-1135
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