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Lichen: A Beauty Exposed

Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 20:30

An exhibition of lichen photographs by Northumberland photographer Iain Duncan has just opened in the main gallery and foyer of the Queen’s Hall, Hexham, and will be there until 22nd November 2014.

This is the culmination of a two year project to showcase the aesthetic qualities of the lichens found on, and in the immediate vicinity of, Hadrian's Wall. The Roman wall is of great historical importance and is a World Heritage site, but the aim of this project, is to introduce audiences to aspects of the holistic and continuing story of Hadrian's Wall, beyond the time of ancient Rome, and to raise awareness of a natural colonisation which is ongoing.

The exhibition will be supported by a number of workshops, including two Introductions to Lichens based at Cawfields Quarry, on the Wall. These are being run in conjunction with the Natural History Society of Northumbria, and places should be booked through the Queen’s Hall ticket office.

New Churchyard and Burial Ground Information Pack

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 - 15:01

The Caring for God's Acre project have just published a fabulous resource for schools to encourage them to get classes out exploring their local churchyards as part of their schoolwork. It includes projects to make kids aware of lichens and get them to look closely at them, photograph them and use them as the basis for art work. Follow this link for details:









Lichen Epiphytic Scenarios

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 10:53

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and British Lichen Society have made available a toolkit in which lichenologists can explore the consequences of climate change at a site-scale, for 382 lichen epiphyte species. A value of ‘environmental suitability’ can be compared for individual species, or across an assemblage of epiphytes, between the present-day and the 2050s and 2080s based on Met Office climate models. This effect of climate change can be modified by woodland composition in order to account for stand-scale changes, such as might occur under a tree disease scenario. The toolkit is accompanied by a Quick Guide and Technical Report, and also features in the British Lichen Society Bulletin for Sumer 2014.

Note that the toolkit is best applied to regions of northern Britain, and is expected to be less accurate for southern England where future climate analogues lie outside British climate space.


International Lichen Symposium 2014 - A Great Success!

Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 11:55

The BLS symposium on New Developments in Lichenology, held at Nottingham University on 10-11th January 2014, was a great success. A wide range of topics were covered, grouped into three main themes: Systematics, Ecophysiology, Communities and Environmental Quality. Key note presentations for these were given by Mats Wedin, Markus Hauck and Chris Ellis. Altogether 22 papers and 19 posters were presented. Further details will appear on the BLS website soon.

The Symposium was combined with the society's usual AGM meeting, which made for a large gathering for the reception on the Friday evening and some interesting discussions at the AGM the following day. The weekend finished with a field meeting at Calke Abbey nearby, attended by an international group of 39 society members and guests (see the previous News report).

We are grateful to Nottingham University for hosting the meeting, and to the Linnean Society and the New Phytologist Trust for their support.


Calke Park NNR – 12 January 2014

Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 20:55

Calke Park will never be the same again. Following the BLS AGM and Symposium held at Nottingham University a visit was made to Calke Park (National Trust) by a contingent of members and guests, many from overseas. This National Nature Reserve was designated because of its high number of veteran trees. The trees themselves, the associated deadwood and the walls of the adjacent old buildings entertained the 38 attendees throughout this cool but dry winters day as an impressive record of the lichens was assembled.



A Field Key to Lichens on Trees - a new book from Frank Dobson

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 09:25

Frank Dobson (author of the popular and well-respected "Lichens - An Illustrated Guide") has recently published a new  "Field Key to Lichens on Trees". This book contains colour photographs and illustrated keys. These keys use only characters that are visible in the field, by eye, or under a x10 hand lens. This combination enables the user to identify over 500 species of lichens which are likely to be found on trees. There is also a supplementary key to 'Lichens on sawn wood' (such as posts, fences or benches). All the species descriptions include a distribution map for the British Isles.

This book gives information for three methods of identification: 1) simple comparison with colour photographs of 128 of the commoner species; 2) colour photos in combination with a table of characters; 3) advanced keys covering all 500 species included in the book..

The use of technical words is kept to a minimum and an illustrated glossary is provided. The book also includes an introduction to lichens and their identification and an extensive section on the relationship of lichens and trees, a list of species included in the keys and a bibliography.

For durability and ease of use in the field, the book is spirally bound in wire and printed on thin card with stouter covers.

Size 250 x 180 mm. 110 pages including 8 colour plates.

Copies can be ordered directly from Frank Dobson at a price of £15 (plus p&p). Download an order form with further details from the links below. You can also download a sample page.

Symposium - Fungi, keystones of evolution and earth processes

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 09:41

This joint meeting with the British Lichen Society, British Mycological Society and the Linnean Society is due to take place on 17 October 2013 and will comprise:

  • review of the ancient beginnings of fungi and explanation of  their probable crucial role in colonization of land by plants
  • exploration of the diversity of ecologically significant interactions between fungi and other organisms
  • description of recent advances in knowledge of speciation and phylogenetic research 
  • analysis of the extraordinary range of diversity in morphological structures and of their functional aspects
  • examination of their current status within conservation management programmes, the threats fungi face from global and local environmental change, and their potential value as indicators of ecosystem health

More Details and Registration Form

Advance Notice - International Lichen Symposium

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 10:57

This is due to take place at the University of Nottingham, UK, on 10 and 11 January 2014. The theme is to be "New developments in lichenology: systematics,ecology, and use as indicators of envrironmental quality".

More details are given on our Events Calendar page.

Metallophyte lichens in Wales - a new management guide

Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 19:02

Wales is home to a large number of abandoned lead, copper and zinc mines and many of these are of exceptional importance for their metallophyte  lichen flora. This has been recognised by some of the sites being notified as SSSI by the Countryside Council for Wales and by the listing of the metallophyte community under Section 42 ot the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act (2006) as being of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity in Wales. In order to promote wider awareness of the importance of these communities and their management needs, Plantlife Cymru have just launched a new  illustrated guide. For more details and to download a free copy of the guide visit the Plantlife website at

New guides to lichens in orchards

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 19:20

New! OPAL guides to lichens (and mosses) in orchards in the East of England. Congratulations to Mark Powell and the East of England team.

Click link to download