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Lichens are our neighbours, living alongside us in cities, forests and grasslands. A few of the jobs these amazing symbiotic "organisms" perform are:
Lichens are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. Globally, they have been used as bioindicators for more than 150 years. Lichens are exceptional bioindicators because:
Hooded Tube (Hypogymnia physodes) is a proven biomonitor in the Alberta Oil Sands Region
Lichens collected by ABMI are not only a record of biodiversity at a given time and place, they also record the elements in that environment, absorbed from the moisture and dust deposited on their bodies. In collaboration with Wood Buffalo Environmental Association, we are exploring the use of these biological archives to track changes in air quality and deposition across Alberta, including the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.
Freckle Pelt (Peltigera aphthosa) and Orange Chocolate Chip Lichen (Solorina crocea) growing together in the mountains
A collaboration with the Lutzoni Lab at Duke University, this project started with documenting Alberta’s amazing Peltigera diversity through genetic work, and expanded to understanding what factors shape the distribution of all lichens with cyanobacterial partners across Alberta. Partially funded by a National Science Foundation grant to F. Lutzoni and J. Miadlikowska entitled “Spatio-temporal factors shaping cyanolichen networks”. Click here to find out more information.
Hooded Sunburst (Xanthomendoza fallax) brightens Edmonton’s boulevard trees
In collaboration with past students of the University of Alberta Lichens of Alberta class, we document the amazing lichen flora of Edmonton, and explore what lichens are telling us about climate and air quality within the city.
Illustration of Hooded Sunburst (Xanthomendoza fallax) by Amanda Schutz
A collaboration with graphic designer and artist Amanda Shutz illustrating lichens that can be found around Edmonton. Based on collections and microscope sections, Amanda’s art invites you to see lichens from a different perspective. Click here for more information about this project or to see the illustrations.
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