496 pages, colour photos, b/w line drawings, colour distribution maps
This book provides an invaluable guide to identifying the British and Irish species both for the amateur naturalist just starting to study lichens, and the more advanced lichenologist. In addition, because of its references to air pollution tolerance and distribution, it offers the environmentalist and ecologist a concise work of reference, compact enough to be used in the field.
The sixth editon has been revised to conform with the nomenclature of "The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland"; Smith C.W. et al. (2009), and more recent changes. It includes a number of species that do not appear in that flora. Over 160 additional species have been added so that this edition now includes more than 1,000 species. It provides a description of most of the species likely to be found in Great Britain and Ireland, those excluded being very rare or very local.
Entries usually consist of a description of each species, notes on habitat, the results of the simple spot tests as well as notes on distribution with a map giving 3 date separations including when it was most recently recorded. A particular feature of this book is the large number of photographs, with most species illustrated in full colour. These are supplemented by numerous line drawings of microscopic and other diagnostic features. There are frequent suggestions to assist in separating species that appear similar but could otherwise cause confusion.
The popular generic "lateral key" has been retained in an enlarged form including a much extended sterile section. A generic synopsis is included to assist the more experienced lichenologist. Each genus has a key or table to the species contained in this book. Where there may be confusion, these keys often include similar species from other genera. Where genera are closely related, a "group" key is frequently supplied.
What is a lichen? 5
Reproductive strategies 6
Ecology of lichens 7
How to study lichens 8
The microscopical examination of lichens 10
Chemical spot tests 11
The lichen Photobiont 14
Layout of the entries 19
Air pollution 19
Lichen Communities 21
How to use the maps 23
Notes on using the Generic Key 25
Group Key - Thallus Type 26
Synopsis to Main Key 32
Main Key 34
Description of genera and species 55
Taxonomic Index 483
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Frank S. Dobson has written and illustrated many books and articles on lichenology, natural history, and photography. He has lectured and run many courses on lichenology for the Field Studies Council and other similar organisations. This has enabled him to understand many of the difficulties experienced by someone starting in lichenology and to write this book in a manner that minimises such problems.
He is an honorary member of the British Lichen Society and has acted as Treasurer; serving on the BLS Council for a number of years and was elected President for the years 1992-94. He is now retired but was professionally involved in photography for most of his working life and was on the photographic consultative committees of both Twickenham College and the London College of Printing.