Lichenology Staff  

Epiphyte Ecology
Monitoring Change
Species Discovery

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

Research Projects



Dr Rebecca Yahr
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, U.K.
tel: +44 (0)131 248-2864
e-mail: r.yahr(at)rbge.org.uk

Research Interests
Academic Career

Google Scholar Citations

Research Interests

My research is on lichen diversity in a broad sense. This includes the systematics of lichenised-fungi and their photosynthetic partners, and the evolutionary and ecological relationships between these lichen symbionts.

Resolving and explaining patterns of lichen diversity contributes towards fundamental knowledge of the planet's biodiversity, and also to the effective conservation of threatened and taxonomically difficult species.

I am a member of the Editorial Board - The Lichenologist and The Edinburgh Journal of Botany.

Historical Lichenology - summary
Evolutionary and ecological factors structuring symbiotic diversity in Cladonia - summary


Belinchon, R., Coppins, B.J., YAHR, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2016) The diversity and community dynamics of hazelwood lichens and bryophytes along a major gradient of human impact. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 9: 359-370.

Svensson, M., Caruso, A., YAHR, R., Ellis, C., Thor, G. & Snäll, T. (2016) Combined observational and experimental data provide limited support for facilitation in lichens. Oikos, 125: 278-283.

Belinchon, R., YAHR, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2015) Interactions among species with contrasting dispersal modes explain distributions for epiphytic lichens. Ecography, 38: 762-768.

YAHR, R. (2015) The status of the conservation priority species Calicium corynellum in the British Isles. The Lichenologist, 47: 205-214.

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.

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.

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.

YAHR, R. (2014) Barcdoing biodiverse Britain: discovering rarities under our feet. Scottish Consortium for Rural Research Newsletter, 79: 6.

YAHR, R., Coppins, B.J., Ellis, C.J. (2014) Quantifying the loss of lichen epiphyte diversity from the pre-industrial Exmoor landscape (south-west England). The Lichenologist, 46: 711-721.

Truong, C., Divakar, P.K., YAHR, R., Crespo A. & Clerc, P. (2013) Testing the use of ITS rDNA and protein-coding genes in the generic and species delimitation of the lichen genus Usnea (Parmeliaceae, Ascomycota). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 68: 357-372.

Weekley, C. W., Menges, E. S., Craddock, A. L. & YAHR, R. (2013) Logging as a pretreatment or surrogate for fire in restoring Florida scrub. Castanea, 78: 15-27.

YAHR, R., Coppins, B.J. & Coppins, A.M. (2013) Transient populations in the British conservation priority lichen, Cladonia botrytes. The Lichenologist, 45: 265-276.

Ellis, C.J. & YAHR, R. (2011) An interdisciplinary review of climate change trends and uncertainties: lichen biodiversity, arctic-alpine ecosystems and habitat loss. In: Hodkinson, T.R., Jones, M.B., Waldren, S. & Parnell, J.A.N. (eds) Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics: 457-489. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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.

Kelly, L.J., Hollingsworth, P.M., Coppins, B.J., Ellis, C.J., Harrold, P., Tosh, J. & YAHR, R. (2011) DNA barcoding of lichenized fungi demonstrates high identification success in a floristic context. New Phytologist, 191: 288-300.

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.

Menges, E.S., Pickertt R., Dolan, R.W., YAHR, R. & Gordon, D.R. (2010) Does current or past landscape structure predict genetic variation: an analysis using six Florida scrub endemic plants. International Journal of Ecology. Article ID 503759, 12 pages; doi:10.1155/2010/503759.

YAHR, R. (2010) Roundwood in roofs: archaeobotany in the attic. Thatcher's Standard, 22: 10-11.

YAHR, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2010) Taxonomy as a Science for Scotland's Future. Knowledge Scotland Research Briefing.

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.

Ellis, C.J., YAHR, R. & Coppins, B.J. (2009) Local extent of old-growth woodland modifies epiphyte response to climate change. Journal of Biogeography, 36: 302-313.

YAHR, R., Vilgalys, R. & DePreist, P.T. (2006) Geographic variation in algal partners of Cladonia subtenuis (Cladoniaceae) highlights the dynamic nature of the lichen symbiosis. New Phytologist, 171: 847-860.

YAHR, R. & DePriest, P.T. (2005) Ecology, life-history, and conservation of the endangered lichen Cladonia perforata. In: Krupnick, G. & Kress, J. (eds) Plant Conservation: A Natural History Approach: 97-102. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Lendemer, J.C. & YAHR, R. (2005) Changes and additions to the checklist of North American lichens - II. Mycotaxon, 93: 277-281.

YAHR, R., Vilgalys, R. & DePriest, P.T. (2004) Strong fungal specificity and selectivity for algal symbionts in Florida scrub Cladonia lichens. Molecular Ecology, 13: 3367-3378.

Dolan, R.W., Menges, E.S. & YAHR, R. (2004) Genetic variation in Nolina brittoniana, a plant endemic to the central ridges of Florida. Southeastern Naturalist, 3: 25-36.

Lendemer, J.C. & YAHR, R. (2004) A checklist of the lichens collected during the Tuckerman Workshop # 12, Outer Banks, North Carolina, U.S.A. Evansia, 21-3: 247-256.

Menges, E.S., Dolan, R.W. & YAHR, R. (2001) Comparative genetics of seven plants endemic to Florida's Lake Wales Ridge. Castenea, 66: 98-114.

YAHR, R. (2000) Ecology and post-fire recovery of Cladonia perforata, an endangered Florida-scrub lichen. Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, 75: 339-356.

YAHR, R., Menges, E.S., & Berry, D.M. (2000) Effects of drainage, fire suppression, and time-since-fire on endemic cutthroat communities in Central Florida. Natural Areas Journal, 20: 3-11.

Dolan, R.W., YAHR, R., Menges, E.S., & Halfhill, M.D. (1999) Conservation implications of genetic variation in species endemic to Florida rosemary scrub. American Journal of Botany, 86: 1556-1562.

Menges, E.S., McIntyre, P.J., Finer, M.S., Goss, E. & YAHR, R. (1999) Microhabitat of the narrow Florida scrub endemic, Dicerandra christmanii, with comparisons to its congener D. frutescens. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Club, 126: 24-31.

Major Collaborative Publications

Divakar, P. K., Crespo, A., Wedin, M., Leavitt, S. D., Hawksworth, D. L., Myllys, L., McCune, B., Randlane, T., Bjerke, J. W., Ohmura, Y., Schmitt, I., Boluda, C. G., Alors, D., Roca-Valiente, B., Del-Prado, R., Ruibal, C., Buaruang, K., Núñez-Zapata, J., Amo de Paz, G., Rico, V. J., Molina, M. C., Elix, J. A., Esslinger, T. L., Tronstad, I. K. K., Lindgren, H., Ertz, D., Gueidan, C., Saag, L., Mark, K., Singh, G., Dal Grande, F., Parnmen, S., Beck, A., Benatti, M. N., Blanchon, D., Candan, M., Clerc, P., Goward, T., Grube, M., Hodkinson, B. P., Hur, J.-S., Kantvilas, G., Kirika, P. M., Lendemer, J., Mattsson, J.-E., Messuti, M. I., Miadlikowska, J., Nelsen, M., Ohlson, J. I., Pérez-Ortega, S., Saag, A., Sipman, H. J. M., Sohrabi, M., Thell, A., Thor, G., Truong, C., YAHR, R., Upreti, D. K., Cubas, P. & Lumbsch, H. T. (2015) Evolution of complex symbiotic relationships in a morphologically derived family of lichen-forming fungi. New Phytologist, 208: 1217-1226..

Schoch, C.L., Seifert, K.A., Huhndorf, S., Robert, V., Spouge, J.L., Levesque,C.A., Chen, W. & Fungal Barcoding Consortium, incl. YAHR, R. (2012) Nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region as a universal DNA barcode marker for fungi. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109: 6241-6246.

Lumbsch, H.T., Ahti, T., Altermann, S., Amo de Paz , G., Aptroot, A., Arup, U., Peña, A.B., Bawingan, P.A., Benatti, M.N., Betancourt, L., Björk, C.R., Boonpragob, K., Brand, M., Bungartz, F., Cáceres, M.E.S., Candan, M., Chaves, J.L., Clerc, P., Common, R., Coppins, B.J., Crespo, A., Dal-Forno, M., Divakar, P.K., Duya, M.V., Elix, J.A., Elvebakk, A., Fankhauser, J.D., Farkas, E., Ferraro, L.I., Fischer, E., Galloway, D.J., Gaya, E., Giralt, M., Goward, T., Grube, M., Hafellner, J., Hernández, J.E., Herrera-Campos, M.D.L., Kalb, K., Kärnefelt, I., Kantvilas, G., Killmann, D., Kirika, P., Knudsen, K., Komposch, H., Kondratyuk, S., Lawrey, J.D., Mangold, A., Marcelli, M.P., Mccune, B., Messuti, M.I., Michlig, A., González, R.M., Moncada, B., Naikatini, A., Nelsen, M.P., Øvstedal, D.O., Palice, Z., Papong, K., Parnmen, S., Pérez-Ortega, S., Printzen, C., Rico, V.J., Rivas-Plata, E., Robayo, J., Rosabal, D., Ruprecht, U., Allen, N.S., Sancho, L., De Jesus, L.S., Vieira, T.S., Schultz, M., Seaward, M.R.D., Sérusiaux, E., Schmitt, I., Sipman, H.J.M., Sohrabi, M., Søchting, U., Søgaard, M.Z., Sparrius, L.B., Spielmann, A., Spribille, T., Sutjaritturakan, J., Thammathaworn, A., Thell, A., Thor, G., Thüs, H., Timdal, E., Truong, C., Türk, R., Tenorio, L.U., Upreti, D.K., van den Boom, P., Rebuelta, M.V., Wedin, M., Will-Wolf, S., Wirth, V., Wirtz, N., YAHR, R., Yeshitela, K., Ziemmeck, F., Wheeler, T. & Lücking, R. (2011) One hundred new species of lichenized fungi: a signature of undiscovered global diversity. Phytotaxa, 18: 1–127.

Schoch, C. L., Sung, G-H., Lopez-Giraldez, F., Townsend, J. P., Miadlikowska, J., Hofstetter, V., Robbertse, B., Matheny, P. B., Kauff, F., Wang, Z., Gueidan, C., Andrie, R. M., Trippe, K., Ciufetti, L. M., Wynns, A., Fraker, E., Hodkinson, B. P., Bonito, G., Groenewald, J. Z., Arzanlou, M., Sybren De Hoog, G., Crous, P. W., Hewitt, D., Pfister, D. H., Peterson, K., Gryzenhout, M., Wingfield, M. J., Aptroot, A., Suh, S-O., Blackwell, M., Hillis, D. M., Griffith, G. W., Castlebury, L. A., Rossman, A. Y., Lumbsch, H. T., Lucking, R., Budel, B., Rauhut, A., Diederich, P., Ertz, D., Geiser, D. M., Hosaka, K., Inderbitzin, P., Kohlmeyer, J., Volkmann-Kohlmeyer, B., Mostert, L., O'Donnell, K., Sipman, H., Rogers, J. D., Shoemaker, R. A., Sugiyama, J., Summerbell, R. C., Untereiner, W., Johnston, P., Stenroos, S., Zuccaro, A., Dyer, P. S., Crittenden, P. D., Cole, M. S., Hansen, K., Trappe, J. M., YAHR, R., Lutzoni, F., & Spatafora J. W. (2009) The Ascomycota tree of life: A phylum-wide phylogeny clarifies the origin and evolution of fundamental reproductive and ecological traits. Systematic Biology, 58: 224-239.

James, T.Y., Kauff, F., Schoch, C., Matheny, P.B., Hofstetter, V., Cox, C.J., Celio, G., Gueidan, C., Fraker, E., Miadlikowska, J., Lumbsch, H. T., Raubut, A., Reeb, V., Arnold, A.E., Amtoft, A., Stajich, J.E., Hosaka, K., Sung, G-S., Johnson, D., O'Rourke, B., Crockett, M., Binder, M., Curtis, J.M., Slot, J.C., Wang, Z., Wilson, A.W., Schüßler, A., Porter, D., Letcher, P.M., Powell, M.J., Taylor, J.W., White, M.M., Griffith, G.W., Davies, D.R., Humber, R.A., Morton, J.B., Sugiyama, J., Rossman, A.Y., Rogers, J.D., Pfister, D.H, Hewitt, D., Hansen, K., Hambleton, S., Shoemaker, R.A., Kohlmeyer, J., Volkmann-Kohlmeyer, B, Spotts, R.A., Serdani, M., Cross, P.W., Hughes, K.W., Matsura, K., Langer, E., Langer, G., Untereiner, W.A., Lücking, R., Büdel, B., Geiser, D.M., Aptroot, A., Diederich, P., Schmitt, I., Schultz, M., YAHR, R., Hibbett, D.S., Lutzoni, F., McLaughlin, D.J., Spatafora, J.W. & Vilgalys, R. (2006) Reconstructing the early evolution of fungi using a six gene phylogeny. Nature, 443: 818-822.

Miadlikowska, J., Kauff, F., Hofstetter, V., Fraker, E., Reeb, V., Grube, M., Hafellner, J., Kukwa, M., Lücking, R., Hestmark, G., Garcia Otalora, M., Rauhut, A., Büdel, B., Scheidegger, C., Timdal, E., Stenroos, S., Brodo, I., Perlmutter, G.B., Ertz, D., Diederich, P., Lendemer, J.C., May, P., Spatafora, J.W., Schoch, C., Arnold, A.E., Hodkinson, B.P., Gueidan, C., Tripp, E., YAHR, R., Robertson, C. & Lutzoni, F. (2006) New insights into classification and evolution of the Lecanoromycetes (Pezizomycotina, Ascomycota) from phylogenetic analyses of three ribosomal RNA- and two protein-coding genes. Mycologia, 98: 1088-1103.

Lutzoni, F., Kauff, F., Cox, J. C., McLaughlin, D., Celio, G., Dentinger, B., Padamsee, M., Hibbett, D., James, T. Y., Baloch, E., Grube, M., Reeb, V., Hofstetter, V., Schoch, C., Arnold, A. E., Miadlikowska, J., Spatafora, J., Johnson, D., Hambleton, S., Crockett, M., Shoemaker, R., Sung, G.-H., Lücking, R., Lumbsch, T., O'Donnell, K., Binder, M., Diederich, P., Ertz, D., Gueidan, C., Hansen, K., Harris, R. C., Hosaka, K., Lim, Y.-W., Matheny, B., Nishida, H., Pfister, D., Rogers, J., Rossman, A., Schmitt, I., Sipman, H., Stone, J., Sugiyama, J., YAHR, R. & Vilgalys, R. (2004) Assembling the fungal tree of life: progress, classification, and evolution of subcellular traits. American Journal of Botany, 91: 1446-1480.

Web Sites

Menges, E.S., Weekley, C.W., YAHR, R., Brand, C. & Mundell, D. (2000) Plants of Archbold Biological Station, Highlands County, Florida.

YAHR, R. & Indoe, K. (1999) Graphidaceae of Central French Guiana.

Conservation Reports

YAHR, R. (2013) Confirmation of the taxonomic status of the Schedule 8 lichen Calicium corynellum. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report.

YAHR, R. (2006) Alectoria ochroleuca: monitoring core populations at Ciste Ridge, An t-Aonach, and Creagan Gorm. Joint Report for the RSPB and RBGE.

YAHR, R. (2006) Status survey of Cladonia botrytes in the Scottish Highlands. Joint Report for the RSPB and RBGE.

YAHR, R. (2002) Macrolichens at Cape St. George, Florida, with special emphasis on the endangered lichen Cladonia perforata. Report for the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve.

YAHR, R. (2001) In the wake of Hurricane Opal: experimental restoration of the endangered lichen Cladonia perforata at Eglin Air Force Base. Report to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

YAHR, R. (2000) Ecology and post-fire recovery of Cladonia perforata, an endangered Florida-scrub lichen. Report to United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Menges, E. S., R. W. Dolan, R. W., YAHR, R., Gordon, D.R. Pickert, D.R., Weekley, C.W. (1999) Geographic correlates of isozyme variation in Nolina brittoniana. Report to Florida Division of Forestry.

YAHR, R. (1998) Species account for Cladonia perforata. In: Multi-species recovery plan for the threatened and endangered species of South Florida, Volume 1, The Species: 6-99–6-107. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Technical Agency Draft; Vero Beach, Florida.

Menges, E.S., Dolan, R.W., Gordon, D.R., Evans, M.E.K. & YAHR, R. (1998) Demography, ecology, and preserve design for endemic plants of the Lake Wales Ridge, Florida. Report to the Nature Conservancy's Ecosystem Research Program.

Menges E. S. & YAHR, R. (1998) Final report on continued ecological monitoring and experimental research on four Florida scrub endemic plants. Florida Division of Forestry.

YAHR, R. (1997) Recolonization and reintroduction of Cladonia perforata Evans, an endangered lichen at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Report to Florida's Division of Forestry.

Menges, E. S., Gordon, D. R., Dolan, R.W., Evans, M.E.K., YAHR, R. & Casado, C. (1996) Demography, breeding system, and genetics of Nolina brittoniana. Report to the Florida Division of Forestry.

Menges, E. S., YAHR, R. & Thomas, K. (1994) Monitoring report for Warea carteri at Tiger Creek Preserve. The Nature Conservancy, Florida.

Academic Career

2010- : Lichen Systematist, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, U.K.
2007- 2010: Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, U.K.
2006-2007: Scientific Assistant to the Director of Science, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, U.K.
2005-2006: Research Fellow, University of St Andrews, U.K.
1994-1998: Botanical Research Scientist, Archbold Biological Station, Lake Placid, Florida, U.S.A.
1992-1993: Botanist, San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake, California, U.S.A.
1991-1993: Botanical Research Scientist, California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Graduate & Post-graduate Supervision

Kristine Bogomazova (2017) - Identification of Species Limits: Clarifying the Taxonomy and Ecology of BAP Lichens.
Sally Eaton (2016) -
Achieving Landscape-Scale Conservation of Scotland's Rainforest Epiphytes.

Anna Florence (2013) - Molecular identification of Micarea algae.
Catherine Kwella (2011) - Testing species concepts in red-fruited pyxie-cup lichens: A study within the Cladonia coccifera group.

Current teaching
MSc. Plant Taxonomy and Biodiversity - Lichenology (University of Edinburgh)

Grants & Awards

2016 - Friends Small Project Fund, £2965: 'Lichen interpretation at RBGE'
2014 - Sibbald Trust, £7161: 'Bringing the Basidiomycota into the 21st Century'
2014 - Botanics Foundation, £24,000: Co-PI contribution to collaborative grant of £90,000 shared with the James Hutton Institute and University of Aberdeen, 'Identification of species limits: clarifying taxonomy and ecology of BAP lichens' (# SR 277)
2011 - Friends Small Project Fund, £1100: 'Lichen interpretation leaflets for RBGE'
2005 - National Science Foundation, $147,000: withdrawn in favour of a University Fellowship (St. Andrews, U.K.)
2002 - American Bryological and Lichenological Society, $500: 'Patterns of association in lichen fungi and their algal hosts: the structure of symbiosis'
2000 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $20,000: 'In the wake of hurricane Opal: experimental restoration of the endangered lichen Cladonia perforata at Eglin Air Force Base'
1996 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $15,400: 'Ecology and post-fire recovery of Cladonia perforata Evans, an endangered Florida scrub lichen'
1995 - Division of Forestry, Florida, $4967.59: 'Post-hurricane reintroduction and recolonization of Cladonia perforata at Eglin Air Force base'

Editorial Positions

2010- : Editorial Board, The Edinburgh Journal of Botany
2009- : Editorial Board, The Lichenologist


2004: PhD. Biology, Duke University, North Carolina, U.S.A.
1994: BSc. Botany, University of California at Davies, U.S.A.


2005- : British Lichen Society
1996- : International Association of Lichenology