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Lichens of North America Information
(formerly www.lichen.com)

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Lichens Home Page

The Book Lichen Biology and the Environment Lichens and Wildlife Lichens and People Useful Links


This informational portion of the sharnoffphotos website is also still being maintained on a site of its own, www.lichen.com. It grew out of the activities of Sylvia and Stephen Sharnoff, who did the photographic fieldwork for the book Lichens of North America, by Irwin M.Brodo and the Sharnoffs, published in November, 2001 by Yale University Press. For more information about the book, please go to The Book. For a brief introduction to lichen biology and how lichens interact with the greater environment, go to Lichen Biology and the Environment . Information about lichens and wildlife, including invertebrates, can be found at Lichens and Wildlife. For a description of how people have made use of lichens, including an extensive bibliographical database, click on Lichens and People. Check out the Useful Links page for many useful connections to this project and to the world of lichens.

Please note that the scientific names are updated periodically, but in citing older references I have kept the earlier names. The most significant example is that all lichens in the genus Cladina are now considered to be in Cladonia.

Lichen Species Photos
I have photos of about 1,250 different species of lichens. To see photos of them, as well as numerous photos of lichen mixtures, lichens from a distance in the landscape, lichens as used by animals and people, lichen anatomy and other lichen-related topics go to the Lichens Home Page on the Sharnoff Photography website. For more information, please email me at lichen@idiom.com.

For photos of lichens on this informational section of the website, see:

Lichen Sampler

Lichen Portrait Gallery

"Are you taking pictures of lichens?" Nose to the ground, I was examining my photo subject with a magnifier, my complicated-looking camera and flashes next to me. I was startled. In more than 20 years (sometimes sporadic, sometimes obsessive) of this odd behavior, this was only the second passer-by to mention lichens--Sylvia Sharnoff

Lichens are the most overlooked of the conspicuous organisms in the natural landscape. The eye often cannot see what the mind does not already know.



Letharia vulpina and Letharia columbiana (click for close-ups) on a juniper tree in Yosemite National Park.







It is estimated that lichens are the dominant vegetation on 8% of the earth's terrestrial surface. Lichens form vast continuous mats in the northern boreal forest (click for photo).

Cladonia evansii (click for close-up) and species of Cladonia on sandy soil in Florida.

See the article in the February, 1997, National Geographic Magazine.

You can contact Stephen Sharnoff at lichen@idiom.com or go to his website of photographs on a variety of subjects, including approx. 7,000 photos of lichens and lichen-related images, at sharnoffphotos.com

You can email Dr. Irwin M. Brodo at ibrodo@mus-nature.ca

Go to Lichen Sampler

Go to Lichen Portrait Gallery

The Book

Lichen Biology and the Environment

Lichens and Wildlife

Lichens and People

Useful Links


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Lichens Home Page