Plant Talk

NYBG Science in the News: Disappearing Lichens and a Southern Appalachian Stronghold

Posted in Environment & Conservation , Plant Science on May 29, 2020, by Lawrence Kelly

Dr. Lawrence Kelly is the Associate Vice President of Science Administration at The New York Botanical Garden.

Lichens are fungi that form beautiful, complex symbioses with algae and bacteria. These hubs of activity that bind nature together are incredibly important to nearly everything that lives on land. Yet many have vanished.

One of the priority areas for lichen conservation is Appalachia, including the Great Smoky Mountains. For more than a decade, NYBG Assistant Curator James Lendemer has worked with fellow lichenologists to understand this global hotspot for lichen diversity. In the process, they published the monumental Field Guide to the Lichens of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and in the Center for Plant Conservation’s May newsletter, they make a strong case for conserving and protecting these amazing organisms.

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