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Collection Tips


One of the requirements of our course in Lichenology is the successful completion of a term paper or a field collection of 50 specimens, with 25 identified to species.

For those students interested in fulfilling this requirement via the field collection option, the following information is provided.

  • Collect in packets, folded from 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
  • Collect one species at a time and collect enough material to fill the packet.
  • Record the following information on the packet:
  • The type of substrate, e.g., bark (corticolous), wood (lignicolous; was it a debarked or decomposing tree?, rock (saxicolous), soil (terricolous), humus (humicolous).
  • The identity of the substrate, e.g., corticolous on Acer saccharum (sugar maple), lignicolous on Picea rubens (red spruce), lignicolous on unidentifiable tree, saxicolous over moss, saxicolous on granite, etc.
  • Never mix different types of substrates in one packet.
  • If you don't know the type of tree or shrub, include a twig with buds (or leaves) for identification back at the lab.
  • The date
  • Record the following information in a field notebook and keep track of which specimens you collected at which locations:
  • The country, state (province), township, and the exact location you collected the specimen. In pinpointing the exact location, ask yourself "Have I described the location in enough detail to enable someone to relocate this area 100 years from now?" For example:
    MAINE, Piscataquis County, T8 R10 WELS, The Nature Conservancy's Big Reed Preserve, approximately 500 meters north of station 800, transit line W. Northern White Cedar stand, May 14, 1987. Collected by S. Selva, 445.
    (Note: 445 is my collection number. The first lichen you collect will be #1, the second #2, etc.)
  • Roughly 1/3 of your collection, and roughly 1/3 of the specimens you identify, should be fruticose lichens, 1/3 foliose lihens, and 1/3 crustose lichens.
  • Remove lichens from bark, wood, or soil with a sharp knife. Carve under your specimen and remove a bit of the substrate with it. Never scrape specimens off the substrate.
  • When collecting saxicolous specimens, break off pieces of rock with a rock hammer and chisel, leaving the lichen intact on the substrate.



    Last Updated November 2, 2004
    For more information contact sselva@maine.edu
    Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004 The University of Maine at Fort Kent