Taxonomy and ecology of Sphagnum-associated Desmids from the New England Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia




Desmids associated with Sphagnum L. from terrestrial and aquatic habitats were investigated in the New England Tableland Bioregion. Descriptions and figures for 80 taxa are presented herein, nine of which are newly recorded for Australia, and a further seven are newly recorded for New South Wales. Two novel species of desmid, Micrasterias bicoronata A.Kenins and Cosmarium phymatodeum A.Kenins, are described. The floristic composition of desmids at Basket Swamp and Ebor Common, were compared to assess their conservation value based on an existing and modified scheme better suited to desmids from Australia. Basket Swamp received a relatively high score based on greater species richness and numerous endemics present. In contrast, Ebor Common scored lower due to less diversity and few regionally endemic species. This study also highlights that the desmid community found amongst Sphagnum in Australia is highly diverse (βSOR = 0.82) and can differ markedly among the four assessed sites due to spatial turnover (βRATIO = 0.15). While there are species in common with the much more extensively studied Sphagnum habitats in central and western Europe, Australia has its own distinctive desmid floral elements.