Introduction                       ENP Lichen Volunteer Project Images-Click Here

A small part of South Florida has a unique flora and climate, when compared to the rest of the United States and Canada. Globally, it is more closely related to tropical areas of the World. But since it is wholly situated north of the Tropic of Cancer, we use the term Subtropical Florida when referring to it. It is defined as the part of Florida with an average January temperature greater than 54F. This appears as the dark area in the graphic to the left. The lichen flora is also different here with graphid and pyrenolichens abounding, the former not being common on the rest of the continent (north of Mexico).
In contrast, foliose lichens are less common with Parmotrema, Physcia, Dirinaria and the jelly lichens representing a large portion of this growth form.
The marvelous self published works of Richard C. Harris (Some Florida Lichens 1990 and More Florida Lichens 1995), although covering northern Florida more extensively than southern, still represent the vast majority of published material applicable to Subtropical Florida. But much more needs to be done if the lichen flora of this region is to be understood.
Within Subtropical Florida most native trees and plant communities of both coasts have been lost to development having been replaced by structures, cement, grass and palm trees of various species. However, the extreme southern portion of the region has been preserved through the establishment of Big Cypress National Preserve (570,000 acres) and Everglades National Park (1,509,000 acres). The problem of surveying lichens in this vast expanse is one of accessibility. Unique plant communities, each with at least a slightly (or greatly) different lichen mix, are not easily reached by trails or roads which are very few in number. Common impediments include high water levels (necessitating wading in sometimes waist deep water), alligators (not as much threat as everyone perceives), poisonous snakes (most dangerous are the diamondback rattlesnake and the cottonmouth water moccasin) and an extremely high mosquito population at certain times of the year). In addition, the 1000's of outer islands and unique beach flora of the Cape Sable region offer their own lichen assemblages but are accessible only by boat.
For the last 18 years we have spent at least 7 months a year in the region studying all aspects of this environment except marine ecology. With the help of others, we hope eventually to create a multifaceted lichen web site including taxonomy (with images, keys and interactive keys), a glossary illustrated with images, lichen habitats (and why we need to preserve them), the roll lichens play in the natural world, and man's link to lichens. Finally, we want to create a CD to be distributed free to educational facilities. In short, like the other publications we have created (nine in all), we hope this site will eventually have something for everyone from the novice to the professional. If this appears a daunting task, it is. But in view of the tremendous interest in lichens generated by the recently published prodigious work entitled Lichens of North America by Brodo, Sharnof and Sharnof, it seems desirable to build upon this interest. Despite environmental preservation movements of the last few decades, we, as humans, still tend to think of ourselves as aloof from the natural world and able to manipulate it to our own wants when, in reality, it is the natural world that manipulates us. Lichen ecology would be a great way to demonstrate this.

 Site Arrangement

The lichen index in the left hand frame contains all included lichens.  Clicking on a species brings up a photo of the thallus which in turn contains links (directly under the species name) to other species photos if available.  The link is grayed out if there is no photo.  Clicking "Lichens Home" above returns you to this page.  The site is designed with "frames".  To print a section it is necessary to first click in the section you wish to print.


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