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Bryophyte diversity and community structure on thatched roofs of the Holnicote Estate, Somerset, U.K.

Hedderson, T.A.J., Letts, J.B. and Payne, K. (2003) Bryophyte diversity and community structure on thatched roofs of the Holnicote Estate, Somerset, U.K. Journal of Bryology, 25 (1). 49 - 60. ISSN 0373-6687

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1179/037366803125002653


We investigated patterns of bryophyte species richness and community structure, and their relation to roof variables, on thatched roofs of the Holnicote Estate, South Somerset. Thirty-two bryophyte species were recorded from 28 sampled roofs, including the globally rare and endangered thatch moss, Leptodontium gemmascens. Multiple regression analyses revealed that thatch age has a highly significant positive effect on the number of species present, accounting for nearly half the observed variation in species richness after removal of outliers. Aspect has a slight and marginally significant effect on species diversity (accounting for an additional 6% of variation), with north-facing samples having slightly more species. Age also has a significant impact on total bryophyte cover after removal of outlying observations. TWINSPAN analysis of bryophyte cover data suggests the existence of at least five discrete communities. Simple Discriminant Analyses indicate that these communities occupy different ecological subspaces as defined by the measured roof variables, with pitch, aspect and thatch age emerging as especially significant attributes. Contingency Analysis indicates that some communities are disfavoured by water reed as compared to wheat straw. The findings are significant for understanding the structure of bryophyte communities, for evaluating the effect of bryophyte cover on thatch performance, and for conservation of thatch communities, especially those harbouring rare species.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10770

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