The lichen flora of the Chagos Archipelago, including comparison with other island and coastal tropical floras.

The 1996 Chagos Expedition provided the first opportunity to study the archipelago?s lichen flora. Seventeen of the 55 islands were ecologically investigated, some in more detail than others, and lists and representative collections of lichens have been assembled for many of them. In all, 67 taxa have been recorded, 52 to specific level. Although the islands have a low biodiversity for cryptogamic plants, as would be expected in terms of their relatively young age, remoteness and small terrestrial surface areas, those taxa that are present are often found in abundance and play significant ecological roles. There is a good correlation between total lichen biodiversity and island size, despite the fact that Cocos nucifera is such an important substratum for cryptogamic plants and its presence on all islands studied provides a consistently high associated species count. Comparisons of lichen floras for ten island and coastal tropical areas show good correlations (based on the So_rensen Coefficient) within the Indian Ocean as would be expected, but poorer correlations exist within and between Pacific Ocean and neotropical floras. Ranked correlations between Chagos and other floras are in the sequence Maldives > Laing Island > Aldabra > Tuamotu > Pitcairn > N.Mariana & Belize > Guadeloupe > Cook. When coefficients are calculated using only the Physciaceae, different correlations and sequences are derived, but the affinities of the Indian Ocean islands remain strong. However, although the lichen flora of Chagos is characteristic for an Indian Ocean, it is dominated by pantropical species.
Seaward Mark .
lichens,terrestrial flora(other)