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Phaeophyscia leana, largely considered to be endemic to the river systems of central eastern North America, is newly reported from Madison County, Alabama. This is the first report from Alabama and extends the distribution of the species nearly 195 kilometers south of its currently established southern range limit. The species occurs on trees in river floodplains, a habitat that has been widely altered through hydrological engineering throughout eastern North America.
By providing open space, artificial lichen establishment substrates can allow study of the process of establishment and lichenization, which are among the processes that play out to determine lichen communities. They may also be useful to understand how quickly lichen communities can change and become re-established as we seek to interpret lichen biomonitoring data. We left 5 artificial lichen substrates for 42 months to be naturally colonized by lichens in an Oregon Fraxinus latifolia forest. Compared to a nearby forest macrolichen community with 45 species, we observed eight macrolichen taxa becoming established on the substrates. Many of the developing thalli could be identified only to genus. Taxa becoming established largely represented a subset of the forest community that lacked cyanolichens and included a greater proportion of nitrogen-tolerant species, suggesting that these taxa establish particularly quickly.
Preserving biodiversity in remaining old-growth forests is a high priority for many land managers. To this end, we inventoried the diversity, abundance, and distribution of epiphyte species in one 318-year-old, 86 m tall Picea sitchensis tree on the north coast of California. In 39 plots, we recorded species present and mean percent cover for each species. Our findings include the following: 1) 68 epiphyte species were found in this one tree; 2) epiphyte diversity increased with height; 3) lichens had the highest diversity of all epiphyte classes; and 4) mosses had the highest percent cover of all epiphyte classes. These findings highlight the capacity for old trees to serve as reservoirs of biodiversity in younger forests.