The Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) has performed hydrogeological and organic surveys of Museum of Nature properties since 1995. This system is the means by which the museum is an efficient steward of its land following the development of the Pure Heritage Campus (NHC) constructing in 1998.

EMP college students Katherine Peel (left) and Duncan Horan-Lunney (proper) hike by means of the swamp on the museum’s smaller, 12-acre property in Osgoode, Ontario. Noel Alfonso © Canadian Museum of Nature

In the summertime of 2022, we have been the fortunate two college students to conduct environmental analysis on the museum’s 76-acre web site in Gatineau, Quebec, underneath the path of museum ichthyologist Noel Alfonso. Now we have monitored many features of the property by means of numerous initiatives together with the annual EMP beetle and vascular plant surveys. Nonetheless, we have been thrilled when Noel broke the information that our taxon of curiosity this 12 months was that of the fascinating lichen.

A tree trunk covered with different species of lichen.Like a pot of gold! We have been so excited to see this tree trunk within the forest on the NHC coated in so many alternative species of crusty lichen. Duncan Horan-Lunney, © Canadian Museum of Nature

Braids are terribly distinctive and weird. Every species is a mixture of two (or extra) fully totally different species that behave like a single organism. They include a layer of cyanobacteria or algae sandwiched between two layers of fungus. The interior layer of algae is answerable for photosynthesis and provides the lichens their attribute colours, whereas the fungi give them their fruiting physique and form.

A flat gray scalloped growth on a tree.One of many first lichens we noticed, on a department within the forest on the NHC campus. In the event you look intently, you’ll be able to see the ridged, mottled floor of the grey lobes that gave it its title: Hammered Defend Lichen (Parmelia sulcata). Duncan Horan-Lunney, © Canadian Museum of Nature

Take a look at this weblog to be taught extra about lichen and how you can inform them aside from moss:

Previously, the EMP has not carried out in depth lichen research. So we have been very excited to begin our personal lichen collections this summer time and to provide an up to date checklist of the species discovered on the NHC web site.

A grey-green growth on a tree.A light-weight inexperienced cup lichen on a useless department on the property in Osgoode, Ontario. Lichens are sometimes discovered on useless or dying bushes and look like damaging to the substrate on which they develop. Fortunately that is unsuitable! They don’t hurt the bushes the place they develop. Katherine Peel, © Canadian Museum of Nature

So the place did we begin? In brief, we have solely simply began trying. And searched and searched and searched. Lichens may be discovered on bushes, rocks, and even the bottom. They are often showy, like star-tipped reindeer lichen (which gained Canada’s nationwide lichen vote!) or, extra generally, very discreetly, mixing into their environment. The longer you search, the extra you will see!

A mass of swollen, bright hemispheres.Canada’s nationwide lichen, star-tipped reindeer lichen (Cladonia stellaris), was chosen by 18,075 Canadians in an internet contest held in February 2020. © Canadian Museum of Pure Historical past

Nearly day by day we went out into the NHC’s “yard” and surveyed the realm. Once we noticed a lichen that we needed to gather, we bought our gear prepared. Assortment strategies fluctuate relying on the substrate, abundance and kind of lichen.

Many of the lichens now we have collected to date have been discovered on tree trunks. To gather these, we rigorously scraped off a really skinny layer of bark containing the lichen and positioned it in a paper bag. Once we returned to the museum, we dried the lichen to protect it, then left it in a freezer for every week to kill any pests that may nonetheless be there. After that, the lichens have been able to be recognized and added to the museum collections.

A man crouching and scratching a tree.EMP scholar Duncan Horan-Lunney gathering lichen from the bark on the base of a useless cedar. Katherine Peel, © Canadian Museum of Nature

This 12 months we had the chance to gather lichens that will usually have required particular methods to entry. Current wind storms within the Ottawa-Gatineau space felled many bushes within the NHC forest, together with a pair of white pines whose high branches have been greater than eighty toes off the bottom! These fallen bushes offered easy accessibility to branches with tree lichen species that we couldn’t in any other case acquire.

Masses of flat orange, green and white growths on a tree trunk.A number of species of lichen have been discovered on the highest of a 28-meter tall pine tree that was toppled through the highly effective Derecho storm of Might 2022. Till we explored the highest of those branches, we had not discovered such a various coloration among the many lichens we studied. Duncan Horan-Lunney, © Canadian Museum of Nature

Lichen identification may be terribly complicated. Particular methods, chemical substances, and coloration response assessments are sometimes required to find out distinctive compounds within the construction. Our lichen collections are expertly recognized and added to the Nationwide Herbarium of Canada.

A man and woman, both wearing bug jackets, stand near a lichen-covered tree and give the thumbs-up sign.One other nice discover! Right here we’re subsequent to a tree coated in crusty lichen within the NHC forest. Noel Alfonso, © Canadian Museum of Nature

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Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) college students

2022 – Katherine Peel & Duncan Horan-Lunney

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