Classification and ordination of cryptogamic communities in Wilkes Land, Continental Antarctica
The entirely cryptogamic vegetation of Bailey and Clark Peninsulas, Windmill Islands, Budd Coast, Wilkes Land, Antarctica, is described for the first time. The vegetation of this area is exceptionally well developed and diverse and represents one of the most important botanical sites on the continent. The macroflora comprises three species of moss, one liverwort, three fruticose lichens, four foliose and over 20 crustose lichens; several macroalgae also occur. Seventy stands of relatively homogeneous vegetation were analysed and the percentage cover afforded by every species within 20 quadrats per site was recorded. A subjective classification was developed by visual ordering of the data sets and a hierarchical system erected which incorporates one moss- and one lichen-dominated sub-formation; the former includes two associations and seven sociations, while the latter comprises one association which includes four sociations. The data were then arranged by centroid linkage analysis to produce an objective classification, and subsequently ordinated by principal components analysis to generate groups of stands, the inter-relations of which were interpreted in ecological and environmental terms. The objective classification and ordination strongly support the subjectively derived groupings or sociations. Examples of plant interactions are qualitatively described.