North American Lichens and Bryophytes - Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change

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Digitization TCN: North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change

Lichens & Bryophytes TCN
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Project Summary

Lichens and bryophytes (mosses and their relatives) are sensitive indicators of environmental change, and are dominant organisms in arctic-alpine and desert habitats, where the effects of climate change are well-documented. This project will image about 2.3 million North American lichen and bryophyte specimens from more than 60 collections to address questions of how species distributions change after major environmental events, both in the past and projected into the future. Large-scale distribution mapping will help identify regions where such changes are likely, fostering programs designed to protect these organisms. Awardees plan to build and enhance a national volunteer community, and provide online seminars, extensive online training materials, and local workshops and field trips.

Current Research

Research questions proposed:

  • How are changes in distribution patterns of lichens and bryophytes over time correlated with man-made environmental changes, such as land use change, atmospheric pollution, global climate change due to greenhouse gases, and damage to the ozone layer?
  • Can mapping of historic and recent lichen and bryophyte collections be used to document such changes and can these organisms be used as bioindicators to draw our attention to issues and geographic regions where action is required to maintain a healthy environment?
  • How accurately can we predict where specific species can be found using existing herbarium data and GIS information, both currently and in the future?
  • Flora projects include:

  • Arctic lichen flora and of the Southern Subpolar region
  • Bryophyte flora of Fiji
  • Bryophytes of Illinois, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania
  • Frullania species
  • Lichens of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, North & South Carolina, and Wisconsin
  • Lichens of U.S. National Parks
  • Project Websites & Social Media

    Lichens, Bryophytes and Climate Change Website http://lbcc1.acis.ufl.edu
    Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria Portal http://lichenportal.org
    Consortium of North American Bryophyte Herbaria Portal http://bryophyteportal.org

    Citizen Science & Outreach Projects

    Project Leadership

    Project Sponsor: University of Wisconsin - Madison (NSF Award 1115116)

    Principal Investigators (PIs): Corinna Gries (PI), Thomas Nash (Co-PI)

    Collaborating Award PIs:
    Andrew Miller, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Edward Schilling, University of Tennessee Knoxville; Meredith Blackwell, Louisiana State University & Agricultural and Mechanical College; Donald Pfister, Harvard University; Francois Lutzoni, Duke University; Robert Luecking, Field Museum of Natural History; Bruce Allen, Missouri Botanical Garden; Timothy James, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Larry St.Clair, Brigham Young University; Stefanie Ickert-Bond, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; William Buck, New York Botanical Garden; John Freudenstein, Ohio State University; Tatyana Livschultz, Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia; David Giblin, University of Washington; Alan Fryday, Michigan State University; Brent Mishler, University of California, Berkeley

    Project Collaborators

    Map of Collaborating Institutions

    Academy of Natural Sciences, Philidelphia (NSF Award 1115131)
    Auburn University
    Boise State University
    Botanical Research Institute of Texas
    Brigham Young University (NSF Award 1115038)
    California Academy of Science
    Cornell University
    Drexel University, Academy of Natural Sciences
    Duke University (NSF Award 1115001)
    Field Museum of Natural History (NSF Award 1115002)
    Harvard University, Farlow Herbarium (NSF Award 1114957)
    Idaho State University
    Louisiana State University & Agricultural and Mechanical College (NSF Award 1114928)
    Michigan State University (NSF Award 1115183)
    Michigan Technological University
    Missouri Botanical Garden (NSF Award 1115026)
    Montana State University
    Morton Arboretum
    New York Botanical Garden (NSF Award 1115086)
    North Dakota State University, T. L. Esslinger Herbarium
    Ohio State University (NSF Award 1115105)
    Oregon State University
    Pittsburg State University (Kansas)
    Rutgers University
    San Francisco State University
    Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
    Southern Illinois University
    State University of New York, Binghamton
    Towson University
    Tulane University
    University of Alaska, Museum of the North (NSF Award 1115056)
    University of Arizona
    University of Arkansas
    University of California, Berkeley (NSF Award 1115189)
    University of Connecticut
    University of Hawaii, Manoa
    University of Idaho
    University of Illinois (NSF Award 1114886)
    University of Illinois, Natural History Survey
    University of Maine
    University of Maine at Ft. Kent
    University of Michigan (NSF Award 1115030)
    University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln
    University of Nebraska at Kearny
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    University of New Hampshire
    University of New Mexico
    University of North Alabama
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    University of Richmond
    University of Tennessee (NSF Award 1114926)
    University of Texas, El Paso
    University of Vermont
    University of Washington (NSF Award 1115161 )
    University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
    University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
    University of Wyoming Rocky Mountain Herbarium
    Utah Valley University
    West Virginia University
    Western Washington University
    Yale University, Peabody Museum

    Unfunded participants:
    Arizona State University
    Evergreen Natural History Museum
    Indiana University Herbarium
    Iowa State University
    Natural History Museum of Denmark: The Herbarium of Lichens
    Patricia Ledlie Herbarium
    Uppsala University Exsiccati
    University of Kansas
    University of Nebraska, Omaha
    Utah State University, Intermountain Herbarium
    Valdosta State University

    Protocols & Workflows

    Publications

    Gries, Corinna, Edward E. Gilbert, and Nico M. Franz. “Symbiota – A Virtual Platform for Creating Voucher-Based Biodiversity Information Communities.” Biodiversity Data Journal 2, no. 2 (2014): e1114. [http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.3897/BDJ.2.e1114.
    Hodkinson, Brendan P. “An Evolving Phylogenetically Based Taxonomy of Lichens and Allied Fungi.” Opuscula Philolichenum 11 (2012): 4–10.
    Hodkinson, Brendan P., and James C. Lendemer. “Phylogeny and Taxonomy of an Enigmatic Sterile Lichen.” Systematic Botany 37, no. 4 (2012): 835–44. doi:10.1600/036364412X656536.
    ———. “The Orders of Ostropomycetidae (Lecanoromycetes, Ascomycota): Recognition of Sarrameanales and Trapeliales with a Request to Retain Pertusariales over Agyriales.” Phytologia 93, no. 3 (2011): 407–12.
    Lendemer, James C., and Brendan P. Hodkinson. “A Radical Shift in the Taxonomy of Lepraria S.l.: Molecular and Morphological Studies Shed New Light on the Evolution of Asexuality and Lichen Growth Form Diversification.” Mycologia 105, no. 4 (2013): 994–1018. doi:10.3852/12-338.
    Matsunaga, Andréa, Alex Thompson, Renato J. Figueiredo, Charlotte C. Germain-Aubrey, Matthew Collins, Reed S. Beaman, Bruce J. MacFadden, et al. “A Computational- and Storage-Cloud for Integration of Biodiversity Collections.” Proceedings - IEEE 9th International Conference on E-Science, E-Science 2013, 2013, 78–87. doi:10.1109/eScience.2013.48.
    Nash, Thomas H., and John Brinda. “Digitizing North American Lichen and Bryophyte Specimens in US Institutions.” Evansia 29, no. 4 (December 2012): 115–115. doi:10.1639/079.029.0405.
    Nebel, Martin, Lars Söderström, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 28. Transfers of Some Taxa to Lobatiriccardia (Aneuraceae, Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 81, no. 1 (2013): 10–11. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.81.1.6.
    Söderström, L., Jiří Váňa, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 35. Notes on Lophoziaceae (Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 97, no. 2 (2013): 27–35. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.97.2.
    Söderström, Lars, Barbara Crandall-Stotler, Raymond E Stotler, Jiří Váňa, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 36. Generic Treatment of Lophocoleaceae (Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 97, no. 2 (2013): 36–43. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.97.2.3.
    Söderström, Lars, Jiří Váňa, Barbara Crandall-Stotler, Raymond E Stotler, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 43. New Combinations in Lophocoleaceae (Marchantiophyta) New Combinations in Cryptolophocolea.” Phytotaxa 112, no. 1 (2013): 18–32. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.112.1.4.
    Söderström, Lars, Jiří Váňa, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 31. Lophonardia Replaces Hypolophozia (Cephaloziellaceae, Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 81, no. 1 (2013): 19–21. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.81.1.7.
    Váňa, Jiří, Lars Söderström, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 60. Circumscription of Gymnomitriaceae (Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 183, no. 4 (2014): 287–89. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.112.1.1.
    ———. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today. 61. New Synonyms and New Combinations in Cephaloziaceae and Cephaloziellaceae (Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 183, no. 9 (2014): 290–92. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.81.1.8.
    Zhu, Rui-liang, Yu-mei Wei, Lars Söderström, Anders Hagborg, and Matt von Konrat. “Notes on Early Land Plants Today.25. Lejeunea Soae , a New Name for Lejeunea Chinensis, Hom. Illeg. (Lejeuneaceae, Marchantiophyta).” Phytotaxa 81, no. 30825004 (2013): 1–2. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.81.1.1.

    Professional Presentations

    iDigBio Summit V, 2015

    Other project documentation

    PENs

    Digitization PEN: Digitization of North American Bryophyte and Lichen Specimens from Florida Herbaria

    This award joins the ongoing Thematic Collections Network project on North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change. In this Network, individual projects provide extensive documentation on the role of bryophytes and lichens in ecosystems, groups known to be sensitive to the immediate microhabitat and to environmental changes of many kinds, both physical and chemical, and which respond rapidly to such changes. Bryophytes and lichens have been featured in studies of acid rain, climate warming or drying, grazing pressure, water quality, and ecological continuity. The addition of specimen data from Florida herbaria to the ongoing TCN Lichen/Bryophyte database will significantly enhance holdings from Florida. Additionally, models developed from these digitized data will aid future mapping projections of large scale species distributions and identification of biodiversity hotspots as prime candidates for protection. The environment in Florida is experiencing rapid change due to development and climate change. These data will help to elucidate regions where changes are imminent and likely to have substantial impact in Florida. The data will also facilitate proactive initiatives to alleviate such changes. Florida includes subtropical and tropical communities, contrasting with the temperate and boreal communities represented in more northern herbaria that are part of the Network.

    Project Sponsor: University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History (NSF Award 1206394)

    Principal Investigator (PI): Norris Williams

    Project Collaborators:
    Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
    University of Central Florida
    University of Florida, Florida Natural History Museum
    University of South Florida
    University of West Florida

    Project website: Digitization of Lichens and Bryophytes at the UF Herbarium (FLAS)

    Digitization PEN: Addressing Colorado Lichens and Bryophytes as Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change

    This award joins the ongoing Thematic Collections Network project on "North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change". The primary goal of this project is to image label data from the 100,000 North American bryophyte (mosses) and lichen specimens held at the University of Colorado Herbarium (COLO). The main scientific questions to be addressed from these efforts are: (1) How are changes in distribution patterns of lichens and bryophytes over time correlated with man-made environmental changes? (2) Can mapping of specimens document such changes, and can these organisms be used as bioindicators to focus our attention on steps needed to maintain a healthy environment? Natural history museums and herbaria serve as storehouses for plant and animal specimens collected over generations of scientific investigation. Collections are the basis for our understanding of life's diversity in all its abundance and variation across nature. The collections from Colorado will add information about high altitude lichens and bryophytes and will fill a gap for the original network.

    With uncertainty surrounding future impacts from human climate disruption, the value of efforts such as these will only grow over time. Future scientists and policy makers will be indebted to those who expedite access to the objective records of voucher specimens documenting the presence of particular species at a particular place at a particular time. COLO views this proposal not only as a commitment to fill a significant gap in the national project's goal to digitize the bulk of North American collection in US herbaria, but also as an opportunity to advance efforts within museums and herbaria to train and support the next generation of curatorial professionals, offering opportunities for several undergraduate students as interns. Volunteers from the public community will be trained, and the museum will develop exhibits as a part of public outreach. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program and all data resulting from this award will be available through the national resource (https://www.idigbio.org).

    Project Sponsor: University of Colorado at Boulder (NSF Award 1205084)

    Principal Investigator (PI): Timothy Hogan

    Project Collaborators: University of Colorado

    Digitization PEN: Digitization of two Important Medium-sized Collections to Join the North American Bryophytes and Lichens TCN

    An award is made to join the University of Minnesota (MIN) and the Yale University (YU) herbaria to the North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change Thematic Collections Network (LBCC TCN). A total of 91,300 lichen and bryophyte specimens will be imaged and georeferenced. Historical records of lichens and bryophytes, along with geographic coordinates of collecting localities, are ideally suited for investigating a variety of questions related to global environmental change. The collections included in this PEN are each important regional repositories of North American specimens, and digitizing them will fill a considerable gap in the TCN's goal of digitizing nearly all lichen and bryophyte specimens in North America and add historically important specimens.

    Data resulting from this project will be of immediate use to scientists who study how ecosystems respond to climate change and who use lichens and bryophytes as indicators of air quality. Societal benefits of this work include improved understanding of what causes ecosystem change and how environmental change may affect human health, our economy, and our environment. This project introduces a new generation of students to museum collections by offering internships to high school students of diverse backgrounds and by involving undergraduates and graduate students in project activities. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program and all data resulting from this award will be available through https://www.idigbio.org.

    Project Sponsor: Yale University (NSF Award 1304941)

    Principal Investigators (PIs): Patrick Sweeney (PI), Michael Donoghue (Co-PI)

    Digitization PEN: Digitization of North American Bryophyte and Lichen Specimens from Two Ohio Herbaria at the University of Cincinnati (CINC)

    This project joins the ongoing Thematic Collections Network project "North American Lichens and Bryophytes: Sensitive Indicators of Environmental Quality and Change". The project will contribute label data for approximately 107,000 specimens from North America. Both herbaria included in this PEN are especially rich in 18th to early 20th Century collections which will fill an important gap in attaining the TCN's goals. These organisms are known to be highly sensitive to environmental changes and, accordingly this data, will support future research on environmental changes during this period of history which may influence distributional patterns of lichens and bryophytes over time. Other research projects, that use map-based analyses of historical vs. present-day data, could address questions such as, can these hyper-sensitive organisms be used as early warning bioindicators to highlight the early causes and effects of environmental change? In addition, exposure of these historical specimens and their data will be useful for studies of changes in the local vegetation.

    The results of this project will be useful to society by increasing our understanding and our ability for early detection of the causal factors and resulting patterns of environmental quality including, for example, changes in air and water quality. This project will provide experience in museum curation and database management to undergraduate and graduate students. Outreach will include design and implementation of pre-K and 1st grade activities to introduce young students to new colors, textures of the strange and interesting things in the natural world, and the idea that all organisms are important. This award is made as part of the National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections through the Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program and all data resulting from this award will be available through the National Resource (iDigBio.org).

    Project Sponsor: University of Cincinnati Main Campus (NSF Award 1410548)

    Principal Investigators (PIs): Eric Tepe (PI), Steven Rogstad (Co-PI), Corinna Gries (Co-PI), Theresa Culley (Co-PI)