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A survey of Windsor Jambs, a narrow gorge in Windsor State Forest, Massachusetts, resulted in 64 lichen species in 41 genera. Species diversity is high compared to other areas in the Berkshires. Despite the presence of red spruce trees in the surrounding forest, lichen species belonging to a boreal floristic element comprise only 6% of the lichen flora. An index of ecological continuity calculation indicated that the surrounding forest cannot be considered old-growth, despite the presence of some old-growth hemlock trees. The crustose lichen Diploschistes gypsaceus is reported as new for Massachusetts, and the filamentous lichen Cystocoleus ebeneus is new for New England.
Sphagnum cyclophyllum Sullivant in A. Gray is considered a rare peat moss known from the southeastern United States and disjunct in Nova Scotia. This report fills a gap in the known distribution of the species documenting it from six locations on the Coastal Plain of Delaware and Maryland.
Unlike deciduous plants, lichen thalli over time accumulate elements present in the air, such as lead, zinc, sulfur, nitrogen, and radionuclides in their tissues. Therefore, lichens may constitute ideal bioindicators to monitor air quality in both urban and rural environments. We evaluated the impact of air pollution on lichens in and around the city of Monroe, Louisiana. Lichen discs of Ramalina stenospora, Physcia sorediosa, and Parmotrema perforatum were transplanted from the core of a wildlife management area (lower levels of air pollution) to areas of potentially higher levels of air pollution and monitored over time. We measured percent bleaching, chlorophyll content and morphological characteristics of the thalli over a 12-month period. Percent bleaching, chlorophyll content and morphological characteristics of the thalli differed significantly over time among sites with contrasting pollution levels. Therefore, variables such as percent bleaching and chlorophyll content of lichen thalli, which are relatively easily determined, can be successfully used to estimate air quality in an area.
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