Western Australian Flora Statistics 2008 Flora Statistics

Statistics for the Western Australian flora at or below the rank of species for all groups traditionally managed by herbaria, including vascular plants, algae, fungi, lichens, mosses and slime moulds.

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Summary

Comparison of 2008’s data with the previous year.

  • the addition of 808 names to the Census of Western Australian Plants database;
  • a decrease (-65) in the number of manuscript names in current use, down to 374, most likely due to the excellent publication output in the last year combined with the conversion of many manuscript names to phrase names as part of the Australian Plant Census project;
  • a concomitant increase (+90) in the number of phrase names in current use, up to 1186;
  • a significant increase in the number of published species, up 234 (214 native and 20 alien) to 10,608 species, due in part to the publication of two issues of the Science Division journal Nuytsia late last year, including the special BCI-SOS 'banded ironstone' issue.
  • an additional 221 cryptogam names entered into the Census of Western Australian Plants database;
  • the great majority of new names comes from the addition of moss names from Biggs and Chappill’s ‘Annotated census of the mosses of the Perth Region’, to be published shortly in Nuytsia;
  • in all 177 new taxa were added—158 bryophytes and 19 lichens, including the first record on the Census of an alien cryptogam—the moss Campylopus introflexus (Hedw.) Brid. This takes the number of cryptogams recorded in the Census to 1,814 taxa;
  • this number now includes almost all the estimated lichens (672/700) and around half the estimated bryophytes (159/400) expected to occur in the State;
  • there has been no addition to the fungi or algae in the last year and these groups are still very poorly represented in the Census.

Notes

Dicotyledons
Used in its traditional sense to retain compatibility with previous tables and for ease of use. ‘Dicotyledons’ now refers to a paraphyletic assemblage of the Nymphaeales, ‘magnoliids’ and ‘eudicot’ clades, see our systematic sequence.
Species
A published name at the rank of species.
Taxa
Commonly refers to a published name at any rank, but these statistics only refer to taxa at or below species rank.

Cryptogams

Statistics for the cryptogamic flora groups were first compiled in 2006. For these, the statistics should only be considered adequate or representative for the lichens, myxomycetes and for the mosses (bryophyta) of the Perth region. For the remaining groups, specialists have provided the following estimates of the actual number of species that could be found to occur in WA once adequate field and taxonomic studies have been made.

Fungi (both macro- and micro-fungi)
Pascoe (1991) suggests the ratio of plants to fungi is about 1:10 in Australia, i.e. 25,000 plants (native and exotic), and 250,000 fungi. So, if WA has 14,000 vascular plants, then the estimated number of fungi in WA would be 140,000 (Neale Bougher, pers. comm.).
Lichens (lichenised fungi)
Ray Cranfield (pers. comm.) suggests that even with the recent publication of a State census of lichens (Cranfield, 2004), there are likely to be in the order of another 70 taxa likely to be discovered in coming years.
Algae (including marine macro- and micro-algae, dinoflagellates, diatoms and freshwater macro-algae)
John Huisman (pers. comm.) notes that the estimated number of macroalgae occurring in WA is 1,400, given that much of the northwest remains to be explored and we are still uncovering new records/species in all parts of WA. He also notes that “my earlier compilation of diatom/dinoflagellate and other microalgal records for WA included around 600 diatoms and 150 dinoflagellates (the other groups were negligible); marine and freshwater were included. The multiplication factor used by Watson et al. (1995) to estimate the world’s algal species was x10, so WA’s microalgae will probably add up to approximately 7,500 spp.” If we also allow around 100 species of freshwater macroalgae, then the putative number of algae will total some 9,000 taxa.
Bryophytes (the paraphyletic assemblage of mosses, liverworts and hornworts)
Streimann & Klazenga (2002) list 212 moss taxa occurring in WA, and McCarthy (2003) lists 90 taxa of liverworts and hornworts. As these figures are comparable in size to those listed for the Australian Capital Territory (a region one-thousandth the area), we might expect there are a number of bryophytes yet to discover. Conservatively, the estimated number of taxa occurring in WA could be put at 400 (Ray Cranfield, pers. comm.)
Myxomycetes (slime moulds)
After the publication of a census of slime moulds (Knight and Brims, 2010) the estimated maximum number of taxa occurring in WA may be put at 200 (Karina Knight, pers. comm.)

References

  • Biggs, L. and Chappill, J., (2008). An annotated census of the mosses of the Perth Region, Western Australia. Nuytsia 18 (1) : 1–30.
  • Cranfield, R.J., (2004). Lichen Census of Western Australia. Nuytsia 15 (2) : 193–220.
  • Huisman, J.M., Cowan, R.A. & Entwisle, T.J. (1998). Biodiversity of Australian marine macroalgae — a progress report. Bot. Mar. 41: 89–93.
  • Knight, K.J. and Brims M.H. (2010). Myxomycota census of Western Australia. Nuytsia 20: 283–307.
  • McCarthy, P.M. (2003). Catalogue of Australian liverworts and hornworts. Flora of Australia supplementary series. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
  • Pascoe, I.G. (1991). History of systematic mycology in Australia. In: History of Systematic Botany in Australasia. Ed by: P. Short. Australian Systematic Botany Society Inc. pp. 259–264.
  • Streimann, H. and Klazenga, N. (2002). Catalogue of Australian mosses. Flora of Australia supplementary series. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra.
  • Watson, R.T., Heywood, V.H., Baste, I., Dias, B., Gamez, R., Janetos, T., Reid, W. & Ruark, G. (1995). Global Biodiversity Assessment. Summary for Policy-Makers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne. 46 pp.

Compiled by Alex Chapman; last updated on 1 June 2008 .

Recommended figures
  • Current Taxa: The actual number of known taxon names in Western Australia
  • Published Species: A conservative estimate of the number of well-documented species