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Posted June 24, 2011

Your name could go on a lichen

If you're liking lichen, you've got a chance to put your - or a loved one's - name to one.

Times Colonist, June 19, 2011

Your name could go on a lichen
Click for larger image

Naming rights for this new species of Bryoria or “Horsehair Lichen”, which forms elegant black tresses on the branches of trees in old-growth forests, will be auctioned off to help raise funds for the Ancient Forest Alliance.
Photo by Jason Hollinger

If you're liking lichen, you've got a chance to put your - or a loved one's - name to one.

A botanist from the University of B.C. has donated the naming rights to two species of lichen he's discovered to two environmental groups. The Ancient Forest Alliance and The Land Conservancy are auctioning off the right to name the species to the highest bidders.

Neither lichen can be found on Vancouver Island but the campaign raises awareness of the role these sybiotic union of fungi and algae play in the ecosystem.

"My idea was to try to help people set aside biologically critical land," said Trevor Goward, a lichenologist with the UBC department of botany.

"I see old-growth forests as a biological archive.

They've been capturing the history, like a library. Yet we cut down these nodes of vast biological knowledge - these things have been accumulating for centuries, for millennia - and I just don't think that's right."

Lichens are sensitive to pollution and disturbance and become rare in urban and industrial landscapes. Some lichens provide critical winter food for mountain caribou in B.C.'s inland rainforests and black-tailed deer in B.C.'s coastal rainforests.

The lichen on loan to the Ancient Forest Alliance is a bryoria or horsehair lichen, which forms elegant black tresses on branches of old-growth trees. The TLC's lichen is a parmelia or crottle lichen which consists of strap-like lobes that are pale grey above and black below.

"We got our first bid [Friday] of $100," said Ken Wu, executive director for the Ancient Forest Alliance.

"I hope people get it, that this is part of a bigger campaign to protect old growth."

Those who want to make a bid to have one of the new species named after themselves or a loved one can visit the Ancient Forest Alliance's website at www.ancientforestalliance. org or phone 250-896-4007.

The Land Conservancy can be reached at www.conservancy.bc.ca or by calling 1-877-485-2422.

Original Article: http://www.timescolonist.com/sports/Your+name+could+lichen/4971475/story.html


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