The Lichenologist

Research Article

Takhtajan's floristic regions and foliicolous lichen biogeography: a compatibility analysis

Robert Lückinga1

a1 Department of Botany, The Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496, USA.


Takhtajan's floristic regions of the world, based on vascular plant distribution, were used for a comparative analysis of foliicolous lichen biogeography. Of the 35 regions distinguished by that author, 23 feature foliicolous lichens. The South-East African, Fijian, Polynesian and Hawaiian regions lack sufficient information and were excluded from further analysis. Using multi-dimensional scaling and cluster and cladistic analyses, the remaining 19 regions were grouped into six lichenogeographical regions: (1) Neotropics, (2) African Paleotropics (including Madagascar, Réunion and Seychelles), (3) Eastern Paleotropics (including North-East Australia and New Caledonia), (4) Valdivian region (temperate rainforest in southern South America), (5) Tethyan region (subtropical areas of Macaronesia, Mediterranean, and Western Irano-Turanian) and (6) Neozealandic-Tasmanian region (temperate rainforests of New Zealand and Tasmania). Affinities between these six large scale regions, with 57–77% shared species, are still stronger than those between the 35 smaller scale regions denned by Takhtajan [(20−)40–60(−75)% shared species]. Based on presence/absence within each of the six regions, 22 potential distribution patterns were defined for foliicolous lichens. Many species are widely distributed; 21% are cosmopolitan or pantropical, while 19% are disjunct on at least two continents, and only 60% are restricted to one of the three major tropical areas (nearly 100% in vascular plants). Most of the latter are found in the Neotropics, while the African Paleotropics are poor in endemics. Most genera deviate significantly from overall distribution patterns; for example, Strigula and Calopadia have higher proportions of widely distributed species, while Porina displays a concentration of Eastern Paleotropical endemics. Species diversity and composition of the six regions indicate that the three extra-tropical foliicolous lichen biotas (Valdivian, Tethyan, Neozealandic-Tasmanian) are the result of partly separate evolutionary histories. On the other hand, there is a strong affinity between the Neotropics and the African Paleotropics, suggesting a shared Western Gondwanan element in the foliicolous lichen biotas of these two regions.