News & Features
Lecanora zosterae plays tricks with the eyes, especially when found in abundance on the dead stems of the Sea Pink Armeria maritima. One moment you see it and just as quickly it dissolves leaving you struggling to catch a glimpse of it on the dried stems of a Sea Pink in your hand. Part of this enigma is explained by the thallus losing itself in the dried stems (immersed); part is explained by the similarly coloured apothecial discs. read more
The aptly titled text ‘The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland’ has been published (May 2009). This is the second edition; the last edition, published in 1992 was titled ‘The Lichen Flora of Great Britain and Ireland’. After much discussion the term ‘flora’ was dropped from this new edition. It is a much needed update due to the still growing advances in lichenology in the last 17 years. Over 385 new species have been added with many species names updated to reflect current taxonomic changes. read more
On March 9th, 2009 President Barack Obama lifted George Bush’s ban on using US taxpayers’ money to fund stem cell research. As a thank you to President Obama, Kerry Knudsen named a newly discovered lichen Caloplaca obamae. The new species was discovered by Kerry on Pleistocene soils on Santa Rosa Island. The name Caloplaca is derived from Greek meaning beautiful shield or patches. Ireland has about 40 Caloplaca species. read more
Leptogium cochleatum is a rare Irish lichen [profile] found on the bark of mature hazel and ash trees. Since the year 2000 it has only been recorded at one site in Co. Galway, two sites in Co. Clare and one site in Co. Kerry. Its decline is due directly to habitat destruction and the non-replacement of mature trees. Lichens need habitat continuity due principally to their slow metabolism and lengthy life cycle. This vulnerable beautiful wavy gelatinous foliose lichen empasises the need for an Irish Lichen Red Data book. [click photo].
Ireland’s fastest growing lichen is the tree lungwort. Found in restricted areas of the West of Ireland it grows at a rate of 4 mm a year reaching sizes of 18 cm long by 3 cm wide. Its scientific name is Lobaria pulmonaria. Typically found on rowan, hazel and willow, its sensitivity to SO2 and shrinking habitat are placing it under threat in Ireland. Ireland needs to categorise this lichen as Nationally Scarce and take on International Responsibility for it. This specimen was photographed on a tree cut down in one of our National Parks.
The exhibition invites visitors to enjoy and appreciate the secret world of lichens, how they survive and reproduce and their many forms and colours. The benefits of lichens for mankind are explored including: potential cures for cancer, indicators of habitat and air quality, delicacy and survival food, perfume, dyes and space exploration.
The exhibition is the brainchild of Scottish Lichenologist John Douglass. If you are an organisation interested in hosting the exhibition you can download information about The Secret Life of Lichens , or contact us at info[at]lichens.ie.
A stalk found in the group Cladonia. It is hollow and holds the fruiting bodies at the tip.
A rock rich in the mineral silica. It includes granite, quartzite, gneiss, basalt and rhyolite. The term ‘acid’ is often used to describe these rocks, but the term siliceous is to be preferred.
A test to help identify lichens in which ultra violet light is used to show the presence/absence of specific lichen substances.
A relationship between two organisms that is usually long term with the following two possibilities: (i) both partners in the symbiosis benefit (mutualistic symbiotic relationship) or (ii) just one partner will benefit at the expense of the other (parasitic symbiotic relationship).