Lichens of North America

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Lichens are a unique form of plant life, the product of a symbiotic association between an alga and a fungus. The beauty and importance of lichens have long been overlooked, despite their abundance and diversity in most parts of North America and elsewhere in the world. This stunning book—the first accessible and authoritative guidebook to lichens of the North American continent—fills the gap, presenting superb color photographs, descriptions, distribution maps, and keys for identifying the most common, conspicuous, or ecologically significant species. The book focuses on 805 foliose, fruticose, and crustose lichens (the latter rarely included in popular guidebooks) and presents information on another 700 species in the keys or notes; special attention is given to species endemic to North America. A comprehensive introduction discusses the biology, structure, uses, and ecological significance of lichens and is illustrated with 90 additional color photos and many line drawings. English names are provided for most species, and the book also includes a glossary that explains technical terms. This visually rich and informative book will open the eyes of nature lovers everywhere to the fascinating world of lichens.

Author Biography: Irwin M. Brodo is emeritus research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, and is considered a world authority on lichens and their biology. Stephen Sharnoff is and the late Sylvia Duran Sharnoff was research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and research affiliate at the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. The Sharnoffs are both internationally renowned nature photographers and writers whose work has appeared in, among other places, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Discover, and the New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

David Ehrenfeld
Lichens of North America is one of the great natural history books of this or any age.
David Suzuki
There is wonder and mystery aplenty in this magnificent compilation.
E. O. Wilson
This is a book to love. It will open a whole new world for naturalists, professional and amateur, to explore and enjoy.
Joanne Laucius
. . .[S]omething. . .never. . .done before. . .a guide to the 3,600 species of lichens. . . in North America. . .[for] nature-lovers.
The Ottawa Citizen
Lynn Margulis
A long-sought triumph, gorgeously illustrated, accurate, accessible, and comprehensive.
Paula T. DePriest
[A] photo-illustrated guide that should not be overlooked. . . lavish. . . Every person interested in natural history should have a copy.
Samuel Hammer
A technically splendid catalogue that will not soon be matched...[An] accessible, informative visual masterpiece.
American Scientist
Thomas E. Lovejoy
This volume is the twenty-first-century lichen equivalent of Audubon’s Birds of America.
Toronto Globe & Mail
This is a beautiful. . .introduction of. . .lichen in North America. . .[with] intimate, delicate colour portraits. . .a delight for people of all interests.
Best of the Year
Toronto Glove & Mail
[A] beautiful first-of-its-kind introduction to. . . lichen. . . [With] intimate, delicate, colour portraits. . .for people of all interests. . .
Toronto Glove & Mail
[A] beautiful first-of-its-kind introduction to. . . lichen. . . [With] intimate,delicate,colour portraits. . .for people of all interests. . .
Wall Street Journal
A fascinating journey into the Lilliputian world of [lichens]. . .a stunning guide for nature lovers.
Library Journal
Lichens are a combination of a fungus and an alga but have a unique structure and appearance quite different from either. Existing worldwide and growing on a variety of surfaces, including rocks, soil, and trees, they may appear leafy, shrubby, mossy, crusty, or jellylike and are seen in a wide range of colors, from brilliant oranges, yellows, and reds to dull grays and browns. This huge new book, written by a world authority on lichens and emeritus research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, provides information on about 1500 of the roughly 3600 recognized North American lichens. Part 1 introduces lichens in 14 clearly written chapters that discuss their biology, ecology, geography, environmental roles, and collection. Part 2, the heart of the book, is a guide that offers identification keys to groups, genera, and species and their descriptions, with accompanying photographs and North American distribution maps. The more than 900 truly beautiful, full-color photos were taken by the Sharnoffs, nature photographers whose work has been widely published in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and elsewhere. Of value to professionals and amateurs alike, this book is certain to be a classic reference for decades to come. Highly recommended for academic and research libraries and for public libraries where interest warrants; libraries needing only a brief yet informative introduction to lichens should consider William Purvis's inexpensive Lichens (Smithsonian Institution, 2000). William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300082494
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 828
  • Sales rank: 374,292
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 About the Lichens
1 Lichens: The Organism 3
2 How Lichens Are Built: Thallus Shapes and Structure 9
3 How Lichens Reproduce 23
4 Colors of Lichens 34
5 How Lichens Live: Physiology and Growth 36
6 Lichen Chemistry 42
7 Where Lichens Grow: Their Substrates 45
8 Lichens and Ecosystems 54
9 Geographic Distributions in North America 62
10 Lichens and People 78
11 Environmental Monitoring with Lichens 89
12 Naming and Classifying Lichens 94
13 Collecting and Studying Lichens 97
14 Using This Book to Name a Lichen: Hints and Conventions 111
Pt. 2 Guide to the Lichens
Identification Keys to Genera and Major Groups 117
Key to Keys 117
Key A: Fruticose Lichens 118
Key B: Dwarf Fruticose Filamentous Lichens 121
Key C: Sterile Crustose Lichens 122
Key D: Crustose Perithecial Lichens and Lichens with Ascomata Resembling Perithecia 124
Key E: Crustose Script Lichens 126
Key F: Crustose Disk Lichens 126
Key G: Squamulose Lichens 134
Key H: Umbilicate and Fan-Shaped Lichens 136
Key I: Jelly Lichens 137
Key J: Yellow Foliose Lichens 137
Key K: Foliose Lichens That Are not Umbilicate, Jelly-Like, or Yellow 139
Descriptions, Illustrations, Keys to Species, and Maps 145
App Classification of Lichen Fungi 751
Glossary 755
Further Reading and Bibliography 765
Index of Names 771
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2002

    Simply the best lichen book

    The Lichens of North America is remarkable in the quality of photographs, completeness of species, and readability of introductory material. For a keen amateur, the keys are generally quite workable, despite a few confusing areas. For example, I had trouble using characteristics of the stereome in the key to Cladonia. Overall, the keys seem less subjective, but slower, than Hale. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in beautiful pictures, detailed keys, and accessible background information.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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