• Jair Putzke Universidade Federal do Pampa
  • Adriano Luis Schünemann Universidade Federal do Pampa
  • Antonio Batista Pereira Universidade Federal do Pampa



competition, ice-free areas, lichen growth, lichenometry, long-term evaluation


Antarctica is one of the most extreme environments on the planet considering the climatic conditions. This greatly limits the development of plants, and is reflected in slow growth, especially in the lichens present in this environment. Haematomma erythromma is a nitrophile lichen easily identifiable by its color and was the species chosen to evaluate growth in Antarctica. Using a plastic sheet, squares of 20 x 20 cm were placed on eight different rocks with crustose lichen communities and the species found were drawn in 1992 and in 2012. The location chosen for the survey was Stinker Point, on Elephant Island, north of the South Shetland Archipelago. After 20 years and evaluating 178 thalli, H. erythromma grew 0.2 to 0.7 mm/year, one of the slowest among Antarctic lichens. The thallus growth is mainly oriented West/Northwest, against prevailing wind direction, probably due to nutrient carried form a penguin rockery nearby. New thalli formed during this evaluation and the old ones also grew to connect each other, resulting in a confluent larger thallus. The new thalli grew mostly over Xanthoria elegans (Link.) Th. Fr., Rhizoplaca aspidophora (Vain.) Redón and Buellia spp. demonstrating that H. erythromma is capable of colonize areas with other lichen species coverage. The growth to be confluent with other thalli and the wind orientation are novelties to this species of lichen.


Armstrong, R. A., & Welch, A. R. 2007. Competition in lichen communities – review article. Symbiosis, 43, 1–12.

AutoCAD. 2015. Autodesk Software. Autodesk Knowledge Network. Available on:

Booth, C. 1971. Methods in Microbiology. Vol. 4. London: Academic Press. p. 794.

Cao, S., Zheng, H., Liu, C., Tian, H., Zhou, Q., & Zhang, F. 2015. The various substrates of Usnea aurantiaco-atra and its algal sources in the Fildes Peninsula, Antarctica. Advances in Polar Science, 26(4), 274–281. DOI: 10.13679/j.advps.2015.4.00274

Convey, P. 2006. Antarctic climate change and its influences on terrestrial ecosystems. In: Bergstrom, D., Convey, P. P., & Huiskes, A. H. L. (Eds.). Trends in Antarctic Terrestrial and Limnetic Ecosystems. pp. 253–272. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Green, T. G. A., Brabyn, L., Beard, C., & Sancho, L. G. 2012. Extremely low lichen growth rates in Taylor Valley, dry Walleys, Continental Antarctica. Polar Biology, 35(4), 535–541. DOI: 10.1007/s00300-011-1098-7

Hooker, T. N. 1980a. Factors affecting the growth of Antarctic crustose lichens. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin, 50, 1–19.

Hooker, T. N. 1980b. Lobe growth and marginal zonation in crustose lichens. Lichenologist, 12, 313–323.

Hooker, T. N. 1980c. Growth and production of Cladonia rangifera and Sphaerophorus globosus on Signy Island, South Orkney Islands. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin, 50, 27–34.

Johansson, P., & Thor, G. 2008. Lichen species density and abundance over ten years in permanent plots in inland Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 20(02), 115–121. DOI: 10.1017/S0954102007000855

Kranner, I., Beckett, R. Hochman, A., & Nash III, T. H. 2008. Desiccation-tolerance in lichens: a review. The Bryologist ,111(4), 576–593.

Lawrey, J. D. 1984. Biology of Lichenized Fungi. New York: Praeger. p. 408.

Lewis-Smith, R. 1995. Colonization by lichens and the development of lichen-dominated communities in the maritime Antarctic. Lichenologist, 27(6), 473–483. DOI: 10.1017/S0024282995000600

Li, Y., Kromer B., Schukraft, G., Bubenzer, O., Huang, M., Wang, Z., Bian, L., & Li, C. 2014. Growth rate of Usnea aurantiacoatra (Jacq.) Bory on Fildes Peninsula, Antarctica and its climatic background. PLoS ONE, 9(6), e100735. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100735

Lindsay, D. C. 1973. Estimates of lichen growth rates in the maritime Antarctic. Arctic Alpine Research, 5, 199–200.

Little, L. 2009. Lichen life in Antarctica - A review on growth and environmental adaptations of lichens in Antarctica. Individual Project for ANTA 504 for GCAS 08/09. p. 21.

Messuti, M. I., & De la Rosa, I. N. 2009. Notes on the genus Haematomma (Ascomycota, Lecanoraceae) in Argentina. Darwiniana, 47(2), 297–308.

Nash, T. H. 2008. Lichen biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 502.

Ochyra R., Lewis-Smith, R. I., & Bednarek-Ochyra, H. 2008. The illustrated moss flora of Antarctica. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 704.

Olech, M. 1990. Preliminary studies on ornithocoprophilous lichens of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Proceedings of NIPR Symposium of Polar Biology, 3, 218–223.

Olech, M. 1994. Lichenological assessment of the Cape Lions Rump, King George Island, South Shetland Islands; a baseline for monitoring biological changes. Polish Polar Research, 15 (3-4), 111–130.

Øvstedal, D. O., & Smith, R. I. L. 2001. Lichens of Antarctica and South Georgia – a guide to their identification and Ecology. Studies in Polar Research. Cambridge University Press: p. 411.

Pentecost, A. 1980. Aspects of competition in saxicolous lichen communities. Lichenologist, 12, 135–144. DOI: 10.1017/S0024282980000060.

Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Opened for signature on 4 October 1991, 30 ILM (1991). (entered into force 14 January 1998).

Putzke, J., Vieira, F. C. B., & Pereira, A. B. 2019. Vegetation recovery after the removal of a facility in Elephant Island, Maritime Antarctic. Land Degradation & Development, 31, 96–104. DOI: 10.1002/ldr.3431

Putzke, J. 2020. Bryophytes and their associates in South Shetland Islands – Antarctica. In: Afroz, A. (Ed.). Recent advances in botanical sciences. Vol. 1. pp. 8 – 19. Singapore: Benthan Books.

Redon, J. 1985. Liquenes Antárticos. Santiago de Chile: Instituto Antártico Chileno: p. 123.

Sancho, L., Green, A., & Pintado, A. 2007. Slowest to fastest: Extreme range in lichen growth rates support their use as an indicator of climate change in Antarctica. Flora, 202, 667–673. DOI: 10.1016/j.flora.2007.05.005

Sancho, L., & Pintado, A. 2004. Evidence of high annual growth rate for lichens in the maritime Antarctic. Polar Biology, 27(5), 312–319. DOI: 10.1007/s00300-004-0594-4

Sancho, L. G., Green, T. G. A., & Pintado, A. 2007. Slowest to fastest: Extreme range in lichen growth rates supports their use as an indicator of climate change in Antarctica. Flora, 202, 667–673.

Sancho, L. G., Pintado, A., & Green, T. G. A. 2019. Antarctic studies show lichens to be excellent biomonitors of climate change. Diversity, 11(42), 1–14.

Smith, L. R. I. 1995. Vascular plants as bioindicators of regional warming in Antarctica. Oecologia, 99, 322–328.

Turner, J., Colwell, S. R., Marshall, G. J., Lachlan-Cope, T. A., Carleton, A. M., Jones, P.D., Lagun, V., Reid, P. A., & Iagovkina, S. 2005. Antarctic climatic change during the last 50 years. International Journal of Climatology, 25(3), 279–294. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1130

Valladares, F., & Sancho, L. 1995. Lichen colonization and recolonization of two recently deglaciated zones in the maritime Antarctic. The Lichenologist, 27(06), 485-493. DOI: 10.1017/S0024282995000612