MPG Ranch Lichen Survey

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MPG Ranch Lichen Survey

December 18, 2012

Rebecca Durham Whithed shares a report that explores the variety of lichen found at MPG.

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Mpg Ranch Lichen Survey Introduction

Mpg Ranch Lichen Survey Ecological role and background.

Mpg Ranch Lichen Survey: Lichen can indicate air quality.

Lichens have different sensitivity levels to pollutants.

Lichens contain a variety of novel secondary chemical compounds.

Tumbleweed shield lichen is locally abundant in pockets of shrubland dominated by sagebrush at MPG.

Peltigera species do not contain secondary compounds, so morphology alone must be used for identification.

During the 2012 field season, we sampled lichens at Bird Point Count grid locations and other places visited during fieldwork.

Dry forests have sparse tree cover and southern exposures.

Moist forest areas have a higher density of trees and a northern aspect. Pendulous epiphytic lichens such as beard lichen are abundant.

Grasslands offer habitat for soil dwelling lichens. Lichens growing as a part of biological soil crusts are abundant in exposed windswept ridges with sparse vegetation cover.

Macrolichens abound in old decadent sagebrush stands. The map above shows two areas of dense sagebrush where many lichens were found.

Scree slopes and rock outcrops offer a concentration of crustose lichens and some macrolichens.

Table 1 lists the macrolichens identified to date.

Table 1 lists the macrolichens identified to date. II

Humidity level and habitat type can create different lichen communities.

Field Dog lichen is a ground dwelling lichen.

In forested areas, lichens live on decaying bark amongst soil and moss on the ground.

Lichens often cover the trunks and branches of Douglas-fir and spruce.

Lichens establish on Ponderosa pine regions that are no longer shedding bark.

Wolf lichen can reach high density on Douglas-fir trunks.

We often found some lichen species on hardwood bark or shrub branches.

Cup lichens and dog lichens often nestle at the base of shrubs with a thick carpet of moss.

Lichens are an important component of biological soil crusts (BSC), or cryptogamic crusts, on dry, exposed ridge tops and grasslands/shrublands.

Crustose lichens often dominate rock and scree habitats, but some macrolichens will also grow there.

Emery rock tripe (Umbilicaria phaea) and rock tripe (Umbilicaria hyperborea) grow amongst crustose lichens on exposed boulders.

Lichen Survey Future Directions and Research Questions.

Lichen Survey Supporting Literature

Lichen Survey Glossary