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 and it offers the environmentalist and ecologist a concise work of reference, compact enough to be used in the field.
The seventh edition has been revised to conform with the nomenclature of The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland (2009) and more recent changes to the British lichen flora. lt includes many species that do not appear in that flora. 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. Mark Powell has given valuable assistance in the revision of this edition and has added a new section on lichenicolous fungi on Physcia and Xanthoria.
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. 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.
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.
"The first edition of Dobson’s lichen guide was published in 1979, so a lifetime of experience has gone into ‘Dobson 7’, and the author must be congratulated on his dedication to updating this guide to what is probably the most diverse, challenging and complex group of organisms [...] The layout of this edition closely follows the 2011 version, but with significant updates. [...] there is nothing quite like Dobson 7"
– Sandy Coppins, British Wildlife 30(4), April 2019