Lichen Research Projects  

Epiphyte Ecology
Monitoring Change
Species Discovery

Dr Brian Coppins
Ms Sally Eaton
Dr Christopher Ellis
Ms Louise Olley
Dr Rebecca Yahr

Research Projects



RBGE scientists are actively involved in primary research and training across academic levels. This page provides summaries of recent research projects (since 2005), and two reports on specific projects:

Conservation of Vulpicida pinastri (2006-2007)
Aspen Epiphyte Project (2003-2006)


2016 - Tracking Down the Distribution of the Parmelia saxatilis Aggregate across Scotland by Ellie Corsie (BSc - Plant Science)

Cryptic species are a well-known in many fungi, with similar or even indistinguishable morphologies among genetically distinct lineages. Ellie studied the epiphytic Parmelia saxatilis aggregate in Scotland, a complex of three species known from prior work, but whose morphology and distribution was in question. Using a sampling design to test for climatic and substratum effects, she used the ITS barcode to identify specimens followed by post-hoc study of morphology and distribution. All three sequence types were found across the steep climate gradient sampled, though both P. ernstieae and P. serrana were significanatly more abundant in wetter, western sites, with P. saxatilis s. str. more abundant towards the drier east. There were no differences based on tree species, but P. serrana appeared slightly more abundant on branches than trunks. Previous morphological hypotheses proposed for distinguishing the three taxa in other geographic areas cannot consistently discriminate the species in the sampled sites, but some ecological correlates for morphological features exist. The tendency in national databases to name the preponderance of heavily pruinose specimens from the west as P. ernstieae is not supported by the data, as a variable degree of pruina is found in all species, and only related to the amount of rainfall for P. ernstieae – with a higher degree of pruina in the east and extremely variable pruina in the west.


2014-2015 - Lichen Epiphyte Scenarios (Software Development) by Marios Theodoropoulos (Software Engineer)

Planning for multiple threats is a major challenge in the development of conservation strategy. In this study Bioclimatic Models were developed for 382 lichen epiphytes in Britain, and coupled to information on species' associations with different native and non-native trees. This information was then made available as a site-specific, searchable database using the Lichen Epiphyte Scenarios software. This software allows land managers and conservationists to explore scenarios of woodland compositon and climate change at a baseline (1961-2010), and for the 2050s and 2080s under climate change scenarios. The climate change scenarios used the UK Met Office's latest spatially coherent ensemble to help incoporate uncertainty in climate models into land use strategy.

• Ellis, C.J., Theodoropoulos, M., Eaton, S. & Mulcahy, H. 2016. Woodland composition, climate change and the long-term resilience of lichen epiphytes at Glasdrum NNR. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 895.
• Ellis, C.J., Eaton, S., Theodoropoulos, M., Coppins, B.J., Seaward, M.R.D. & Simkin, J. (2015) Lichen Epiphyte Scenarios. A Toolkit of Climate and Woodland Change for the 21st Century. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. ISBN: 978-1-91087-00-5.
• Ellis, C.J., Eaton, S. & Theodoropoulos, M. (2014) Managing epiphytic diversity in British woodlands. A scenarios toolkit. The Quarterly Journal of Forestry, 108: 262-266.
• Ellis, C.J., Eaton, S., Theodoropoulos, M., Coppins, B.J., Seaward, M.R.D. & Simkin, S. (2014) Response of epiphytic lichens to 21st Century climate change and tree disease scenarios. Biological Conservation, 180: 153-164.

2010-2013 - Lichen Epiphyte Community Classification and Indicator Species by Sally Eaton (Research Assistant)

This project provided a vegetation classification for epiphytes, analogous to the National Vegetation Classification for Vascular Plants, and building on the semi-quantitative methods applied previously by James et al. (1977) and Barkman (1958). Epiphytic microhabitats were extensively sampled for twenty contrasting woodland sites, and fifteen epiphyte Community Types were identified using an unconstrained statistical classification. Published as a Guide to Epiphyte Communities and Indicator Species, the work provides an introduction to the biodiversity importance and ecology of Scotland's epiphytes, their woodland habitat, as well as suggestions for the targeted field recorded of indicator species.

• Ellis, C.J., Eaton, S., Theodoropoulos, M. & Elliott, K. (2015) Epiphyte Communities and Indicator Species. An Ecological Guide for Scotland's Woodlands. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. ISBN: 978-1-910877-01-2.

2014 - Reconstructing Woodland History in Glasdrum National Nature Reserve, Glen Creran by Hannah Mulcahy (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

Lichen epiphytes associated with old-growth woodland present a major challenge in woodland management. First, they tend to occur on older trees, often in open structured habitats. Second, in order to secure the future of these epiphytes in the long-term, such woodlands must undergo regeneration to ensure a new generation of trees. The challenge emerges because, in Scotland, the semi-natural woodlands in which old-growth associated epiphytes occur are often relatively small; regeneration at such sites can result in epiphyte loss because of shading in denser young stands. A key issue in resolving this problem is mapping the age structure of woodland stands, and so building future management plans on an understanding of historical woodland context. This study used dendrochronology to examine the age-structure of Scottish Natural Heritage's NNR at Glasdrum (Glen Creran SSSI). The study showed a skewed age structure, especially for oak, which was favoured during a period of intensive management in the 19th Century but which has not sufficiently regenerated leading to a single older aged cohort. A birch chronosequence was used to identify the time-period over which a stand develops an open structure, in order to estimate the lag-phase in management before conditions in regenerated woodland might become suitable for old-growth species.

• Ellis, C.J., Theodoropoulos, M., Eaton, S. & Mulcahy, H. 2016. Woodland composition, climate change and the long-term resilience of lichen epiphytes at Glasdrum NNR. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 895.

2012-2014 - Ecological Process and Climate Change (EPACS) by Dr Rocio Belinchon (Marie Curie Research Fellow)

The lichen symbiosis is an excellent model system to investigate how species interactions affect the biodiversity response to climate change. This study used two closely-related species with different reproductive and dispersal modes, Nephroma laveigatum (sexually-reproducing and dispersed with spores) and Nephroma parile (asexually-reproducing and dispersed with larger propagules). Microsatellite markers were developed for the species, asking whether the genetic structure of their populations matches with expectation developed for species with contrasting dispersal modes. Next Generation Sequencing was used to examine how the selectivity of each lichen species for their Nostoc photobionts shifts along climatic gradients, asking whether selectivity is ecologically determined (e.g. in different climates), and understanding how the symbiotic interaction may affect each species' climatic response. High resolution ecological sampling was used to understand how the distribution of a spore-dispersed species (which must acquire a compatible photobiont), may be shaped by the distribution of asexual species with overlapping photobiont specificity (and which may 'seed' photobionts into a habitat).

• Belinchon, R., Yahr, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2015) Interactions among species with contrasting dispersal modes explain distributions for epiphytic lichens. Ecography, 38: 762-768..
• Belinchon, R., Ellis, C.J. & Yahr, R. (2014) Microsatellite loci in two epiphytic lichens with contrasting dispersal modes: Nephroma laevigatum and N. parile (Nephromataceae). Applications in Plant Science, 11: 1400080.

2013 - Causes for Differing Bark Microhabitats and Implications for Biodiversity by Kathryn Elliott (BSc - Plant Biology)

It is already well established that bark microhabitat can strongly influence patterns in tree-associated diversity (e.g. bryophytes, invertebrates), including epiphyte community structure. Epiphyte species respond to differences in bark chemistry (e.g. pH), texture (i.e. roughness) and water holding capacity. Using a large, field-sampled dataset, this project aimed to charactersie the ways in which these small-scale bark factors varied among native British tree species, taking into account tree age also. By quantifying differences in microhabitat related to tree species and age, it was possible to explore scenarios of woodland composition which maximised microhabitat heterogeneity, which would be expected to lead to an increased diversity of epiphytes and associated species.

• Ellis, C.J., Eaton, S., Theodoropoulos, M. & Elliott, K. (2015) Epiphyte Communities and Indicator Species. An Ecological Guide for Scotland's Woodlands. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. ISBN: 978-1-910877-01-2.

2013 - Molecular identification of Micarea algae by Anna Florence (BSc - Plant Biology)

Micarea is a genus of lichenised-fungi which is very important to RBGE. Brian Coppins is a global authority on the taxonomy of the difficult genus Micarea. Furthermore, the algae associated with Micarea are enigmatic; they appear to be diverse, and in some cases have unusual morphological characters. However, there has been a lack of complimentary molecular sequence data to undestand the divesity of Micarea algae. This project used chloropast rbcL and the nuclear ribosomal SSU to better understand the systematics of Micarea algal symbionts. The Micarea photophobionts were shown to belong to the genus Coccomyxa, with the results helping to resolve some significant taxonomic problems.

• Yahr, R., Florence, A., Škaloud, P. & Voytsekhovich, A. (2015) Molecular and morphological diversity in photobionts associated with Micarea s. str. (Lecanorales, Ascomycota). The Lichenologist, 47: 403-414.

2012 - Estimating the Realised Ecological Niche for Difficult to Identify Species – A Case Study for the Lichen Genus Lepraria Ach. by Lorna Stoddart (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

There are many examples of genera that are relatively easy to identify, though which include species that are often extremely difficult to separate: e.g. the moss genus Orthotrichum, or the lichen genus Usnea. This is especially the case during ecological survey work, in which specimens occurring in quadrats may be immature, or damaged, and impossible to determine precisely. This project asked whether is possible to use a biased sampling towards specimens that can be accurately determined, and to use these data as a basis for assigning a statistical probability when estimating the identity of unbiased field sampled and equivocal specimens given associated environmental data. This project focussed on the difficult lichen genus Lepraria as a case-study, using herbarium specimens and systematic field-sampling targeted to contrasting habitats, in order to develop a framework for identification based on classification tree analysis. A simulated dataset was used to demonstrate the utility of classification trees in separating species according to their contrasting niche preferences, and estimating likelihoods that a specimen belonged to a given species, based on the type of habitat from which it was sampled.


2012 - Error Rates in the Ancient Woodland Inventory and Methods for the Assessment of Ecological Continuity by Richard Whittet (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

Lichens have been developed and applied as bioindicators, including as proxies for the identification of 'long continuity woodland'. Within a British context, 'long continuity woodland' must by definition be drawn from the ancient woodland resource (i.e. woodland stands that have existed with continuous tree cover in the landscape over c. 250 yr), while also accepting that because of periods of historic intensive management not all ancient woodland retains - despite continuity of tree cover - a continuity of old growth microhabitat heterogeneity. Furthermore, lichen species considered to be long continuity ancient woodland indicators are often hypotheses based on expert opinion and field context, and not easily generalised. The ecological processes which may control the association of certain lichens with long continuity ancient woodland are unresolved, and may include (i) dispersal limitation, such that lichen species require extended periods of time to colonise into a stand, (ii) microhabitat specialisation, such that species require the particular habitat properties of old woodland stands, or (iii) both of these in combination. This study corrected for sampling bias among lichen recorders, to compare the association of the now standard 'Coppins & Coppins' continuity indicators, to Scotland's ancient woodlands. It found mixed success in the statistical degree of association, depending on geographic context. The results suggested that continuity indicators may be more reliable in the oceanic west, and may be better considered as indicators of old growth structure (rather than stand continuity per se) in the more continental east of Scotland.

• Whittet, R.R. & Ellis, C.J. (2015) Open structured woodland and the ecological interpretation of Scotland's Ancient Woodland Inventory. Scottish Geographical Journal, 131: 67-77.
• Whittet, R.R. & Ellis, C.J. (2013) Critical tests for lichen indicators of woodland ecological continuity.
Biological Conservation, 168: 19-23.

2011 - Lichen Diversity on Scottish Aspen: A Component of the Extended Phenotype by Chantel Davies (PhD - Biology)

Aspen forms discrete genetic clones in Scotland's native woodlands and epiphyte communities vary among these clones. Aspen was used as a model system to test the effect of phenotypic differences - under genetic control - on the community structure of lichen and bryophyte epiphytes. Analysis of the aspen phenotype was targeted to bark secondary compounds, and physical structure (roughness). Studies in natural woodlands were accompanied by long-term field trials, in which samples from contrasting aspen clones were grown in a randomised block design. The results from both natural woodlands and field trials demonstrated an important effect of genetics of the foundation species (aspen) on the range of dependent epiphytes, especially through clonal variation in bark texture.

• Davies, C. Ellis, C.J., Iason, G.R. & Ennos, R. A. (2014) Genotypic variation in a foundation tree (Populus tremula L.) explains community structure of associated epiphytes. Biology Letters, 10: 20140190.

2011 - Habitat and Dispersal Constraints on the Distribution of Scotland's Oceanic Lichen Epiphytes by Laura Williams (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

Species distributions might be explained by limits to dispersal, e.g. causing aggregated patterns, or microhabitat availability, or both in combination. This study investigated the importance of spatial processes (consistent with dispersal limitation), and environmental quality, in determining the distribution of oceanic lichens in western Scotland. However, these spatial-environmental processes were investigated for an ancient woodland, and for a recently regenerated woodland. Comparing species with different dispersal modes, asexual species were found to disperse more effectively into the recently regenerated wood, compared to sexually-reproducing, spore-dispersed species. This points to establishment limitation as a key factor in controlling species distributions. However, the availability of suitable microhabitat (environmental quality) was found to be generally more important than dispersal (spatial effects) in controlling a species' distribution.


2011 - Testing Species Concepts in Red-fruited Pyxie-cup lichens: A study within the Cladonia coccifera group by Catherine Kwella (BSc - Plant Science)

Species concepts within the Cladonia coccifera (Ascomycetes, Lecanorales) complex were tested using an approach that integrates morphological, chemical and molecular data from a range of specimens of C. coccifera, C. diversa and C. borealis. A suite of morphological characters were measured and included in a multivariate analysis alongside data on the secondary chemistry of the specimens. Sequences from the ITS 1 and 2 regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA were used to construct a phylogeny of the species in question, and compare genetic with phenotypic similarity. The results provided little evidence for C. coccifera and C. diversa being morphologically distinct groups and many of the phenotypic differences between them could be accounted for by ecological differences associated with altitude. The molecular data did not support the monophyly of any of the three species, although it is possible that multiple copies of ITS were sequenced. Genetic similarity between specimens does not track phenotypic similarity, providing further evidence for the morphological and chemical characters in this group being environmentally determined.


2010 - Life on the Deadwood: Patterns of Lichen and Bryophyte Community Structure on Stumps in a Caledonian pine forest by Verena Blasy (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

Deadwood is considered a key structural component of 'old-growth' forest, while deadwood volumes in British woodlands tend to be relatively low. The managed forest system produces unusual deadwood structure, such as cut-stumps. This project investigated the community composition and richness of cut-stumps across a range of field-settings, e.g. open-, gladed- or closed-canopy stands, looking also at contrasting cutting techniques (height of stump). Using Abernethy Forest as a study system, it explored the interaction between mechanised tree-felling, and conservation actions aimed at recreating 'old-growth' structure. The results demonstrated a successional sequence of lichens, bryophytes and vascular plants, from production to the final decay of stumps, the controlling effect of the local environment on this successional sequence, and the potential importance of cut-stumps as a resource for rare species.

• Blasy, V. & Ellis, C.J. (2014) Life on deadwood: cut stumps as a model system for the succession and management of lichen diversity. The Lichenologist, 46: 455-469.

2010 - Testing the Hypothesis of Climatic Equilibrium: Lichens in Britain and North America by David Braidwood (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

Bioclimatic models are used to assess the 'exposure' of species to future climate change scenarios. They are correlative tools, predicated on the assumption that species are adapted to different climatic settings, and respond directly to macroclimatic change. This is an appealing assumption, but is challenged by, for example, neutral theory; it is also brought into question by niche-related theories, which demonstrate the non-equilibrium of species with climate, dependent on historical contingency, or which highlight smaller-scale effects (such as species interactions) that may also control distributions. This study aimed to test the fundamental assumption of climatic equilibrium. It compared the distribution of lichen species in Britain and North America, asking whether the species distributions - independently derived on two separate continental regions - are comparable. If distributions matched across species, this would provide evidence of climatic equilibrium. The results showed that in a majority of cases bioclimatic distributions did match among species, suggesting an effective tracking of climate space during the post-glacial. But important exceptions also occur.

• Braidwood, D. & Ellis, C.J. (2013) Bioclimatic equilibrium for lichen distributions on disjunct continental landmasses. Botany, 90: 1316-1325.

2008-2010 - The Accumulation of Epiphyte Diversity in Scotland's Atlantic Oakwoods by Dr Joe Hope (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow)

Using Scotland's Atlantic oakwoods as a study system, this project field sampled lichen epiphytes for carefully delimited stands of known age: comparing recently regenerated stands (< 100 yr old), with 'old-growth' stands (> 250 yr old). Epiphyte species composition and richness were compared to stand age, landscape-scale connectivity, tree age, and tree size, and edaphic factors, to determine limits in community development. Establishing these controls was used to provide recommendations for native woodland regeneration strategy.

Ellis, C.J. & Hope, J.C.E. (2011) Lichen Epiphyte Dynamics in Scottish Atlantic Oakwoods: the effect of tree age and historical continuity. SNH Commissioned Report No. 426.

2007-2010 - Biodiversity Loss Across the Threshold of Industrialisation by Dr Rebecca Yahr (Leverhulme Research Fellow)

This project documented the composition and diversity of epiphytes (lichens and mosses) from pre-19th century vernacular buildings (see 'Historical Biogeography'). An inventory of species preserved on building timbers was compared to present-day species distributions, to estimate the magnitude and regional pattern of biodiversity loss across the boundary of industrialisation, and to infer drivers of this change. The results pointed to a significant loss of biodiversity from southern England, an impact which preceded the conservation ethic, and which has been discounted from the modern conservation agenda.

• Ellis, C.J., Yahr, R., Belinchón, R. & Coppins, B.J. (2014) Archaeobotanical evidence for climate as a driver of ecological community change across the anthropocene boundary. Global Change Biology, 20: 2211-2220.
• Ellis, C.J., Yahr, R. & Coppins, B.J. (2011) Archaeobotanical evidence for a massive loss of epiphyte species richness during industrialisation in southern England. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 278: 3482-3489.
• Yahr, R., Coppins, B.J. & Ellis, C.J. (2011) Preserved epiphytes as an archaeological resource in post-medieval vernacular buildings. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38: 1191-1198.
• Yahr, R. (2010) Roundwood in roofs: archaeobotany in the attic. Thatcher's Standard, 22: 10-11.
• Yahr, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2009) Historic lichen communities in Wiltshire. British Lichen Society Bulletin, 105: 10-17.
• Yahr, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2009) Lichens in the attic. The Building Conservation Directory, 2009: 13-14.

2009 - Population Dynamics of Lobaria pulmonaria in the Atlantic Hazelwoods of Western Scotland by Sally Eaton (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

This project compared the stand dynamics of a Scottish oceanic hazelwood, with the population dynamics of the dominant epiphyte, Lobaria pulmonaria. Thalli of L. pulmonaria were intensively sampled within a delimited area of hazelwood, and thallus presence-absence and abundance were examined using spatial statistics, and compared to local suitability of the hazel microhabitat. Results in spatial ecology were complemented by data on L. pulmonariapopulation dynamics (cohort establishment v. mortality rates, growth rates, and age to reproductive maturity), demonstrating the rapid population cycle for L. pulmonaria in the optimum climate of western Scotland.

• Eaton, S. & Ellis, C.J. (2014) High demographic rates of the model epiphyte Lobaria pulmonaria in an oceanic hazelwood (Western Scotland). Fungal Ecology, 11: 60-70. See Erratum: Fungal Ecology, 15: 92.
• Eaton, S. & Ellis, C.J. (2012) Local experimental growth rates respond to macroclimate for the lichen epiphyte Lobaria pulmonaria. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 5: 365-372.

2009 - Response of Lichens with Contrasting Growth-Form to a Standard Wetting-Drying Cycle by Emma Goodyer (BSc - Plant Science)

This project used standardised wetting-drying treatments to examine the hydration response of lichen species with contrasting morphologies (fruticose and foliose lichens) and with different photobiont partners (green-algal and cyanolichens). Results demonstrated a remarkable consistency in the response of lichens with contrasting morphology. This was explained by a trade-off in thallus water economy, between rapid water uptake to maintain photosynthesis, and a need to reduce excess water to maintain gas exchange, under-pinned by physiological and biochemical mechanisms.


2008 - Effects of Climate Change on Montane Indicator Lichen Species by Dafydd Crabtree (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

Montane ecosystems are expected to be severely threatened by climate warming. This study examined the composition and physical structure of vegetation along three altitudinal transects in the Caingorm Mountains of north-east Scotland. Focussing on nine lichen indicator species, the results demonstrated peak occurrence of terricolous lichens at mid-altitudes. Peak occurrence occurred at a point where vascular plant growth (and competition) is reduced, though below a high-altitude area of open ground in which a facilitative structural canopy is absent. Results from the initial MSc project formed the basis for a short research project funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority. This extended project indicated that the critical interaction between vascular plants and lichens is maintained by both temperature and wind-speed. A modelling framework demonstrated the potential importance of wind-speed for downscaled bioclimatic projections. The data now form an important resource for Long-term Monitoring of vegetation change in the British mountains.

• Crabtree & Ellis (2010) Species interaction and response to wind-speed alter the impact of projected temperature change in a montane ecosystem. Journal of Vegetation Science, 21: 744-760.
• Crabtree, D. & Ellis, C.J. (2009) Monitoring ground-layer lichen communities in the Cairngorms: a base-line study to assess climate change impacts. Unpublished Report - Cairngorms National Park Authority.

2008 - Response of Lichen Species to Environmental Factors Operating at Multiple Spatial Scales by Vivyan Lisewski (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

This study examined the extent to which lichen occurrence and local abundance might be controlled by a series of nested environmental factors: macroclimate, site setting (i.e. interior woodland, wayside or streamside), and woodland composition (i.e. tree species). Four contrasting lichens were selected as targets: Degelia spp, Lobaria pulmonaria, Pseudevernia furfuracea and Sphaerophorus globosus. The study identified the effect of a general macroclimatic gradient on lichen occurrence, operating across Scotland from the more oceanic west-coast to the relatively continental north-east. However, local effects (woodland setting and composition) were important in controlling occurrence and abundance through an interaction with macroclimate. This pointed to the critical importance of local habitat in fully understanding the effect on species distributions of climate change.

• Lisewski, V. & Ellis, C.J. (2011) Lichen epiphyte abundance controlled by the nested effect of woodland composition along macroclimatic gradients. Fungal Ecology, 4: 241-249.
• Lisewski, V. & Ellis, C.J. (2010) Epiphyte sensitivity to a cross-scale interaction between habitat quality and macroclimate – an opportunity for range-edge conservation. Biodiversity & Conservation, 19: 3935-3949.
• Lisewski, V. & Ellis, C.J. (2009) Evidence that browsing animals can have a significant effect on epiphytic populations of Sphaerophorus globosus in Scotland. British Lichen Society Bulletin, 104: 6-9.

2007 - Functional Rules and Species Traits Related to Epiphyte Community Succession in Mixed Aged Woodlands by Jason Lewis (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

A study to compare epiphyte community composition, (i) between different tree species (Betula spp., Pinus sylvestris and Populus tremula), and (ii) for a given tree species, between individuals of contrasting age. The research attempted to identify 'assembly rules' that might usefully describe the pathway of epiphyte succssion. Species life-history traits were used to circumscribe 'ecological guilds', and the temporal relationships between these guilds was assessed between different tree species (i.e. between epiphyte communities with contrasting species composition), to confirm or refute the existence of a common successional pattern.

• Lewis, J.E.J. & Ellis, C.J. (2010) Taxon- compared to trait-based analysis of epiphytes, and the role of tree species and tree age in community composition. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 3: 203-210.    

2006 - Ecological Analysis of the 'Near Threatened' Lichen Epiphyte Vulpicida pinastri (Scop.) Gray in the British Isles by Mark Binder (MSc - Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants)

An autecological study to examine the 'near threatened' lichen epiphyte Vulpicida pinastri. This species is largely restricted in Britain to north-east Scotland, where it occurs most frequently on juniper (Juniperus communis). We used a multi-scale approach to examine: (i) its biogeographic distribution in the British Isles, in relation to climate and habitat distribution, (ii) the role of dispersal and niche limitation controlling its local occurrence in juniper stands and (iii) its micro-habitat preferences for individual juniper shrubs.

• Binder, M.B. & Ellis, C.J. (2008) Conservation of the rare British lichen Vulpicida pinastri: climate change, habitat loss and strategies for mitigation. The Lichenologist, 40: 63-79.
• Ellis, C.J. & Binder, M.B. (2007) Inferred shift in the British distribution of Vulpicida pinastri using herbarium and mapping data. British Lichen Society Bulletin, 101: 4-10.