One of the requirements of our course in Lichenology is the successful completion
of a term paper or a field collection of 50 specimens, with 25 identified to
For those students interested in fulfilling this requirement via the field
collection option, the following information is provided.
Collect in packets, folded from 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
Collect one species at a time and collect enough material to fill the packet.
Record the following information on the packet:
The type of substrate, e.g., bark (corticolous), wood (lignicolous; was it
a debarked or decomposing tree?, rock (saxicolous), soil (terricolous), humus
The identity of the substrate, e.g., corticolous on Acer saccharum (sugar
maple), lignicolous on Picea rubens (red spruce), lignicolous on unidentifiable
tree, saxicolous over moss, saxicolous on granite, etc.
Never mix different types of substrates in one packet.
If you don't know the type of tree or shrub, include a twig with buds (or
leaves) for identification back at the lab.
Record the following information in a field notebook and keep track of which
specimens you collected at which locations:
The country, state (province), township, and the exact location you collected
the specimen. In pinpointing the exact location, ask yourself "Have I described
the location in enough detail to enable someone to relocate this area 100 years
from now?" For example:
MAINE, Piscataquis County, T8 R10 WELS, The Nature Conservancy's
Big Reed Preserve, approximately 500 meters north of station 800, transit
line W. Northern White Cedar stand, May 14, 1987. Collected by S. Selva, 445.
(Note: 445 is my collection number. The first lichen you collect
will be #1, the second #2, etc.)
Roughly 1/3 of your collection, and roughly 1/3 of the specimens you identify,
should be fruticose lichens, 1/3 foliose lihens, and 1/3 crustose lichens.
Remove lichens from bark, wood, or soil with a sharp knife. Carve under your
specimen and remove a bit of the substrate with it. Never scrape specimens off
When collecting saxicolous specimens, break off pieces of rock with a rock
hammer and chisel, leaving the lichen intact on the substrate.
Last Updated April 18, 2011
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