Relative humidity, temperature, substrate type, and height of terrestrial lichens in a tropical paramo
Lichens are traditionally divided into types such as "crustose", "foliose" and "fruticose", with different shapes and heights. Substrate, temperature and water are thought to affect lichen height, but there are few studies regarding tropical paramo lichens. Along 2015 I measured those variables in the terricolous lichens of the Cerro Buena Vista, paramo (Costa Rica, 9°33' N & 83°45' W). The measurements were taken inside the lichens and in the substrate under them, in 61 randomly located quadrats (50 x 50 cm). Lichens grew taller on (1) warmer ground, (2) wetter ground, (3) the moister Caribbean slope, and (4) the season with heavier rainfall, as expected. Apparently, atmospheric factors are more important than substrate in the determination of temperature, relative humidity and growth of lichens. Physiologically available water seems to be the main determinant of lichen vertical growth in the Buena Vista paramo.