Saturday, August 28, 2010

Virginia Lichen Checklist

Back in 2004 I began assembling the first checklist of Virginia lichen taxa. The first draft of this work consisted of a literature review plus an inventory of Virginia specimens held by the DUKE Cryptogamic Herbarium (DUKE) and various herbaria with publicly-accessible databases. However, I decided not to publish any of that work, instead favoring an approach that would produce a list of expert-verified taxa for the state. I did this because I was in a unique position to correct some of the taxonomic problems that have arisen over the years, and a literature review with an herbarium inventory would only perpetuate previous errors.

Beginning in 2006, I worked primarily with Dr. Richard C. Harris ('Dick') of the New York Botanical Garden to assemble the lichen checklist for the state, and ensured that Dick verified at least one specimen for each taxon in the list. This resulted in the first checklist of Virginia lichens, lichenicolous fungi, and allied taxa, published last year in Evansia (Hodkinson et al. 2009). However, taxonomy is ever-evolving, and new species are constantly being discovered. To address this issue, I have designed a website that can be updated at any time to reflect changes in our understanding of the Virginia lichen flora:
Virginia’s physiographic provinces

The most recent addition to the list, from just this week, is the lichenicolous fungus Skyttea radiatilis (Tuck.) R.Sant., Etayo & Diederich, identified by James Lendemer. The species was described just within the past decade; it seemingly grows only on a single sterile crustose lichen species, and is probably not rare, even though it is seldom collected and identified. In order to understand why it is so seldom seen, one must simply ask: 'How many people are collecting and carefully examining sick-looking sterile crustose lichens?' (Hint: not many). Additions like this have brought the total number of verified taxa for the state to just over 600, and additional collecting work that I have recently done in the outer Coastal Plain of Virginia has revealed many more (keep an eye out for this work, to be published sometime next year).

I welcome any comments or corrections to the Virginia Lichen Checklist. Let us not forget that, since so much remains to be discovered about the diversity of lichenized fungi, regional inventories like this one are still crucial for the advancement of the field!



Hodkinson, B. P., R. C. Harris, and M. A. Case. 2009. A Checklist of Virginia Lichens. Evansia 26(2): 64-88.
Download publication (PDF file)

Hodkinson, B. P., R. C. Harris, and M. A. Case. 2010. A Checklist of Virginia Lichens. [updated: 25 August 2010].
View authors' updated checklist (website)

Hodkinson, B. P., and M. A. Case. 2008. A lichen survey of Williamsburg, Virginia. Banisteria 31: 24-30.
Download publication (PDF file)
Download supplement (Excel file)

Hodkinson, B. P. 2010. A First Assessment of Lichen Diversity for One of North America's 'Biodiversity Hotspots' in the Southern Appalachians of Virginia. Castanea 75(1): 126-133.
Download publication (PDF file)

1 comment:

  1. Index Fungorum is also a great way to check up on the most current names.