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BLS AGM 2021 and Programme of Events

29th January 2021, 18:30 to 31st January 2021, 16:45

Notice of the Annual General Meeting 2021 and Programme of Events


Because of current and forecast travel restrictions due to the pandemic, the BLS Council has decided that holding a virtual AGM is, this year, in the best interests of the Society. We have both the challenge and the opportunity to connect with each other and conduct our Society business on ‘Zoom’. This platform will, no doubt, be familiar with many members and has proved very useful for two Council meetings so far, allowing many members to join in discussions without long journeys.

We are very pleased that as a result of our virtual meeting, we can offer an extended range of lectures that will be able to be enjoyed by members around the world. The programme below will hopefully whet your appetite. All members are encouraged to attend, from wherever in the world they may be!

Council is aware that there are members who do not use the internet and that all members must be able to see all papers and proposed motions in advance of the AGM and be able to register their votes. Council’s intention, therefore, is to send out all officers’ reports a month before the AGM.

You will need to register for the meeting at Eventbrite by clicking here, so that we can be sure to contact all attendees with information and updates. Of course it is free! This is a single resistration for all events over the AGM weekend.


Programme of Events

Friday 29/01/2021

18.30 Swinscow Lecture: Dr Rosmarie Honegger

Lichens: a more than 400 million-years-old success story.

Lichens are a very old success story: fossils of dorsiventrally organised cyanobacterial and green algal lichens with internal stratification were found in Early Devonian (approx. 418 Ma old) sandstones from the Welsh borderland, with even their microbiome being preserved: bacterial films on the surface of the cortex, and filaments of endolichenic actinobacteria and fungi in the thalline interior. From the early 1970s onwards three powerful tools became available for studying lichen biology and the functioning of lichen symbiosis: electron microscopy (conventional and cryotechniques), genomics and information technology. The fine structure of asci, ascospore formation and release, of conidiogenesis and of the diverse types of mycobiont-photobiont interactions, the routes of solute translocation between the symbionts and the fate of cells under extreme drought stress could be explored. Phylogenies of myco- and photobiont taxa and of sequences of mating type or of hydrophobin genes of lichen-forming fungi, the latter playing a crucial role in the functioning of lichen symbiosis, could be analysed and compared with non-lichenized taxa. Today many colleagues focus on the microbiome of lichen thalli, the ever present bacterial epibionts and actinobacterial and fungal endobionts and speculate about their potential roles in the symbiosis. A model system for resynthesizing all stages of lichen thallus formation and for studying the impact of representatives of the microbiome under controlled in vitro conditions is still missing, a challenge for experimental lichenologists!



Saturday 30/01/2021

10.00 Annual General Meeting


13-14.00 Lunch

Virtual lounge open with facilities for smaller groups to go into break-out rooms


14.00 Introduction: Becky Yahr, President of the Society


14.10 Research talks

1. Claudia Colesie: Lichen stress eco-physiology – how will lichens respond to a changing climate.

2. Gothamie Weerakoon: Graphidaceae – most speciose lichen family in tropical south Asia.

3. Raquel Pino: Species delimitation in Cladonia based on RadSeq data.

15.10 Management/Conservation talks

1. Neil Sanderson: The New Forest Design Plan – Old Growth Woodland Restoration in the New Forest.

2. Mary and Eric Steer: A Shropshire perspective on Local Biodiversity Action Plans, Local Sites and Nature Recovery Networks with regard to lichens.

3. Julie Stoneman: Saving Scotland’s Rainforest – how the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest is working together to conserve this globally important habitat.

16.10-16.30 Coffee break 


16.30 Humanities talks

1. Bryony Benge-Abbott: Following the Lichen: Art and Science on the streets of London.

2. Liz Campbell: Lichens through an artist’s eyes.


17.10 Award Ceremony and Close


Sunday 31/01/2021

11.00 Student talks

1. Theo Llewellyn: A look into molecular lab work for lichen genomics.

2. Clara Rodriguez: Assembly rules of epiphytic communities of temperate forests: a view from the Southern Hemisphere.

3. Alejandro Huereca Delgado: Unveiling the lichen flora and lichenicolous fungi in northeastern Mexico.

4. Gulnara Tagirdzhanova: Genomes of lichen-associated yeasts and what we can predict from them.

5. Sandra Freire: The joint evolutionary history of Tremella s.l. and the Teloschistaceae.


12.15-12.30 Coffee Break


12.30 - 16.30 Virtual Field Meeting

Organisers: Pat Wolseley and April Windle

Part 1. Special Lichen Habitats in the British Isles’

Comprising six short presentations from lichenologists working in these habitats. 

12.30 - 12.45 Introduction

12.45 - 13.45 Presentations: Atlantic Hazelwoods (TBC)

Metalliferous Sites - Janet Simkin

Churchyards - David Hill

13.45 - 14.30 Lunch

Virtual lounge open with facilities for smaller groups to go into break-out rooms


14.45 - 15.30 Presentations: Streams and Rivers - Holger Thüs

Pasture Woodlands and Parklands - Dave Lamacraft

Montane and Snowbeds - Alan Fryday

Part 2. Discussion Panel

15.45 - 16.45 Lichens in the Anthropocene

Peter Crittenden, Chris Ellis, Neil Sanderson, and Ray Woods to discuss lichens in a rapidly changing environment.

What changes have we seen, can we expect to see and how can we mitigate these?


16.45 End Meeting