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Latest Lichen Stories

2012-06-06 12:24:12

The palms that Vietnamese villagers weave into hats, many varieties of lichens that depend on the pristine environment of the Great Smoky Mountains, and small, shrub-like trees that are threatened by development and deforestation in Brazil were among the scores of plant and fungus species that scientists at The New York Botanical Garden discovered and described in the course of one year. As part of their effort to catalog all plant life on Earth, Botanical Garden scientists named 81 new...

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2011-04-29 06:31:57

But the lichen is so rare it may never be seen again A Philadelphia botanist who has studied rare plants for 50 years, but has never attained the honor of having a plant named for him is finally getting his due, but with a barely visible organism so rare it may never be seen again. Dr. Alfred "Ernie" Schuyler, emeritus curator of botany at the Academy of Natural Sciences and a world expert on rare plants, recently was honored when a colleague discovered a new species of lichen and named it...

2011-02-14 15:52:05

A signature of undiscovered global diversity In an unprecedented coming-out party, 100 newly discovered species are revealed to the world in a single scholarly paper coordinated by Field Museum scientists. The 100 organisms are lichens, a type of fungi that form associations with algae and populate environments from arctic tundra to tropical rain forests. And the usual inattention bestowed upon new lichens is one reason for aggregating so many new ones in a single paper in the Feb. 18 issue...

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2010-01-11 08:59:31

Spanish scientists have described the lichen Phylloblastia fortuita, new to the Iberian Peninsula and to science. Another species from the same family, Phylloblastia dispersa, is also a new entry for Europe and is the first time it has been found outside the tropics. Foliicolous lichens, symbiosis between fungi and algae, are organisms associated with tropical or sub-tropical climates, and their presence in environments such as the Iberian Peninsula, outside of the tropics, is associated with...

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2009-11-13 10:25:00

The penalty of the global climate change has hit Norway's reindeer populace as warming temperatures harm food stocks and industry expansion gobbles up grazing land for the creatures. "Over the past three years, I've had to give some hay to my 800 reindeer during the coldest months. It's more expensive and it gives me more work," Jan Egil Trasti, a Norwegian reindeer herder, told AFP. This occurs because the lichen the animals feed on is becoming scarce as winter temperatures warm up. Grazing...

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2009-04-15 13:35:00

Kerry Knudsen discovered 'Caloplaca obamae' on Santa Rosa Island, Calif. A researcher at UC Riverside has discovered a new species of lichen "“ a plant-like growth that looks like moss or a dry leaf "“ and named it after President Barack Obama. "I discovered the new species in 2007 while doing a survey for lichen diversity on Santa Rosa Island in California," said Kerry Knudsen, the lichen curator in the UCR Herbarium. "I named it Caloplaca obamae to show my appreciation for the...

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2008-10-07 09:19:38

Scientists have found lichens can give insight into nitrogen air pollution effects on Sierra Nevada and San Bernardino mountain ecosystems, and protecting them provides safeguards for less sensitive species. Their findings are presented this month in the international journal Environmental Pollution and are significant because nitrogen from air pollution causes detrimental chemical and biological effects to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Other harmful effects include elevated nitrate...

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2008-09-24 13:49:00

Scientists have discovered a new species of lichen stuck to several historic icons in Yosemite. They have spotted the new microscopic species clinging to El Capitan, Half Dome and Vernal Falls, and countless slabs of less famous rock. Now they are setting out to determine if the species can be found elsewhere. Several world-class climbers gathered at the site last week where they collected the microcosms for scientists to analyze. "We hear about new species of life being discovered in the...

2008-08-19 03:00:24

By Olday, Fred The Macrolichens of New England. James W. Hinds and Patricia L. Hinds. 2007. The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY. 586 pp. $65, hardcover, ISBN 9780893274771. A beautiful and technically accurate addition to the lichen literature of New England with hundreds of colored plates, detailed species descriptions and easy- to-use keys. Useful to the amateur who wants to know more about this intriguing group of organisms as well as to professional botanists, ecologiste, and...

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2007-04-27 11:10:00

Scientists at the University of Chicago and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., have produced new evidence to finally resolve the mysterious identity of what they regard as one of the weirdest organisms that ever lived. Their chemical analysis indicates that the organism was a fungus, the scientists report in the May issue of the journal of Geology, published by the Geological Society of America. Called Prototaxites (pronounced pro-toe-tax-eye-tees), the organism went...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'