Arctic Lichen Flora

Lichens dominate some 8% of the Earth's land surface, but nowhere are they as important as in the Arctic & Subarctic. They are a critical component of the Arctic food chain, and are excellent sensors of climate change,
being symbiotic organisms that are highly sensitive to air quality. For these reasons alone, documenting lichen diversity and trends in distribution patterns are of global importance. Fortunately, major regions of the American and Old World Arctic have already been reasonably well collected by botanists in the past, and these historical specimens can be used to provide important scientific baseline data for the Arctic lichen flora as a whole. This portal presents herbarium specimen data in the form of a virtual flora with interactive keys, color photographs, species descriptions, real-time distribution maps, and direct access to complete specimen metadata to further advance an appreciation of ecological complexity within the fragile Arctic biome.

This site has been established in conjunction with the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria (CNALH). Feel free to join as a regular visitor and please send your feedback to