Third Annual Long Island Natural History Conference











Long Island lichens: an exploration of a hidden world

James C. Lendemer, Post-Doctoral Researcher,
Institute of Systematic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden

Lichens are fungi that are found in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the globe. From the highest mountains to the driest deserts they form conspicuous displays on rocks, trees, and soil where they are noticed by scientists, naturalists and the public alike. This presentation will explore the natural history of the lichens of Long Island. It will follow the development of the local biota from the distant past, to our modern present, and into the uncertainties of the future.

Lendemer ( initiated his lichen research career at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and joined The New York Botanical Garden in 2007. He conducted extensive research throughout North America, particularly in the southern Appalachian Mountains and the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Biodiversity in these regions is threatened by an array of forces, including climate change. For example the Mid-Atlantic is considered a global “hotspot” for sea-level rise which is projected to inundate vast areas hosting some of the largest tracts of intact natural habitat within the next century. A comprehensive understanding of lichen biodiversity in that region, as in others, is pivotal to the creation of effective plans for conservation, management, and mitigation.