CSU, Chico News

Herbarium Offers Workshop on Lichen Identification

Date: 03-08-2010

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Lawrence Janeway

Friends of the Herbarium is offering “Introduction to Lichen Identification” on March 20, 9 am to 4 pm, Holt Hall 129. Registration is now open, and participants are asked to register in advance. The class will be limited to 16 participants and needs a minimum of 10 students to be held.

For most people, lichens are only colorful blotches on rocks or just moss-like drapery on tree branches. But lichens are not mosses and they are not plants; they are unique symbiotic associations of fungus and green algae and/or cyanobacteria. Unique organisms, lichens are essential components of ecosystems throughout the world, with more than 3,6000 species found in North America and 1,609 species reported from California.

Opportunities to learn about lichens and how to identify them are rare, even though their identification is often critical to complete inventory of natural resources during pre-project planning and review.

Students in the workshop will gain skills in identification and information about this under-studied group of organisms. The workshop will start in the lab with a lecture presentation covering lichen basics of anatomy, reproduction, ecology and morphology.

The class will move to the field for lunch and for identification and collections. The class will return to the lab for guided exploration, using dissecting microscopes, reference materials and vouchers.

The leader of the workshop is Tom Carlberg, who has a degree in botany from Humboldt State University. He has been a cryptogamic botanist for 10 years, working for the Forest Service, private contractors and nonprofit organizations. His current special interest is habitat modeling for rare species of lichens and vascular plants, using satellite imagery and GIS analysis of spatial data. He is the editor of the Bulletin of the California Lichen Society and a member of the society’s conservation committee. He also belongs to the American Bryological and Lichenological Society and the British Lichen Society.

Participants will benefit more from this workshop if they are experienced with using the dichotomous keys. They should bring dissecting tools, a hand lens and lunch with them to the workshop.

The registration fee is $100 individual, $125 business and $90 for members of Friends of the Herbarium. For more information about the workshop and registration, go to http://www.csuchico.edu/biol/Herb/Events.html, call the Herbarium office at 530-898-3511, e-mail Instructor Carlberg at tearlberg7@yahoo.com, or e-mail the College of Natural Sciences at NS@csuchico.edu.

The Chico State Herbarium is managed under the umbrella of the Gateway Science Museum. For more information, please go to http://www.gatewayscience.org/.