Skip to main content

Habitat associations and distribution model for Fuscopannaria leucosticta in Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Kara PEARSON (a1), Robert CAMERON (a2) and R. Troy MCMULLIN (a3)

Fuscopannaria leucosticta is a rare and understudied cyanolichen with an interesting and unusual distribution in tertiary relict hotspots worldwide. There is a relatively large population in eastern North America, where it occurs mostly throughout the Appalachian Mountains and reaches its northernmost extent in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. The ability to detect this species, and thus determine its habitat requirements, is critical for understanding how it might be affected by human-induced environmental degradation. Maximum entropy modelling with MaxEnt was used to predict the distribution of suitable habitat for this species in Nova Scotia using 62 presence locations, 1405 pseudo-absence locations and four environmental covariates: depth to water table (a proxy for relative soil moisture), distance to the coast and mean annual temperature and precipitation. Our predictive maps identify important habitat features and areas of high suitability in Nova Scotia with an area under the curve value of 0·85. The predicted distribution of this lichen was most affected by temperature. This study elucidates locations as well as species-habitat relationships for F. leucosticta, providing land managers with baseline data that can aid in the discovery of additional populations and provide a better understanding of its ecological requirements which will support the development of sound conservation strategies for this rare lichen.

Corresponding author
(corresponding author): Email:
Hide All
Aguirre-Gutiérrez, J., Carvalheiro, L. G., Polce, C., van Loon, E. E., Raes, N., Reemer, M. & Biesmeijer, J. C. (2013) Fit-for-Purpose: species distribution model performance depends on evaluation criteria - Dutch hoverflies as a case study. PLoS ONE 8: e63708.
Alstrup, V. & Christensen, S. N. (2006) New records of lichens with cyanobacteria from Tanzania and Kenya. Cryptogamie, Mycologie 27: 5768.
Anderson, R. P., Lew, D. & Peterson, A. T. (2003) Evaluating predictive models of species’ distributions: criteria for selecting optimal models. Ecological Modelling 162: 211232.
Antoine, M. E. (2001) Ecophysiology of the cyanolichen Lobaria oregana. M.Sc. thesis, Oregon State University.
Arp, P. (2009) High-resolution flow-channel and wet-areas maps: a tool for better forest operations planning. Sustainable Forest Management Network Research Note Series No. 55.
Arsenault, A., Belland, R. J., Goward, T., Newmaster, S. G. & Vitt, D. H. (2000) Patterns of bryophyte and lichen biodiversity in interior and coastal cedar-hemlock forests of British Columbia. Final report for Forest Renewal British Columbia.
Bolliger, J., Bergamini, A., Stofer, S., Kienast, F. & Scheidegger, C. (2007) Predicting the potential spatial distributions of epiphytic lichen species at the landscape scale. Lichenologist 39: 279291.
Brodo, I. M., Cameron, R. P., Andrachuk, H. & Craig, B. (2001) Identifying Lichens in Nova Scotia. Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network, Ottawa. Accessed 9 February 2016.
Cameron, R. P. (2004) Lichen indicators of ecosystem health in Nova Scotia’s protected areas. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on the Science and Management of Protected Areas, 11–16 May, 2003, Victoria, British Columbia.
Cameron, R. P. & Neily, T. (2008) Heuristic model for identifying the habitats of Erioderma pedicellatum and other rare cyanolichens in Nova Scotia, Canada. Bryologist 111: 650658.
Cameron, R. P. & Richardson, D. H. S. (2006) Occurrence and abundance of epiphytic cyanolichens in protected areas of Nova Scotia, Canada. Opuscula Philolichenum 3: 514.
Cameron, R. P., Neily, T. & Richardson, D. H. S. (2007) Macrolichen indicators of air quality for Nova Scotia. Northeastern Naturalist 14: 114.
Cameron, R. P., Neily, T. & Clayden, S. R. (2011) Distribution prediction model for Erioderma mollissimum in Atlantic Canada. Bryologist 114: 231238.
Carlsen, T., Bendiksby, M., Hofton, T. H., Reiso, S., Bakkestuen, V., Haugan, R., Kauserud, H. & Timdal, E. (2012) Species delimitation, bioclimatic range, and conservation status of the threatened lichen Fuscopannaria confusa . Lichenologist 44: 565575.
Clayden, S. R., Cameron, R. P. & McCarthy, J. W. (2011) Perhumid boreal and hemiboreal forests of Eastern Canada. In Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World (D. A. DellaSala, ed.):111131. Washington, London: Island Press.
ClimAction Services (2017) Climate Observations and Projections in Support of Risk Assessment for Protected Areas across Nova Scotia. Halifax: ClimaAction Services.
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (2017) Candidate List. Retrieved from COSEWIC Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Accessed 13 August 2017:
Culberson, W. L. (1972) Disjunctive distributions in the lichen-forming fungi. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 59: 165173.
Davis, D. & Browne, S. (1996) The Natural History of Nova Scotia. Halifax: Nova Scotia Museum and Nimbus Publishing.
Dymytrova, L., Stofer, S., Ginzler, C., Breiner, F. T. & Scheidegger, C. (2016) Forest-structure data improve distribution models of threatened habitat specialists: implications for conservation of epiphytic lichens in forest landscapes. Biological Conservation 196: 3138.
Ellis, C. J., Coppins, B. J., Dawson, T. P. & Seaward, M. R. D. (2007) Response of British lichens to climate change scenarios: trends and uncertainties in the projected impact for contrasting biogeographic groups. Biological Conservation 140: 217235.
Environment Canada (2014) Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000. Accessed 3 April 2014:
Antoine, M. E. (2001) Ecophysiology of the cyanolichen Lobaria oregana. M.Sc. thesis, Oregon State University.
Esri (2012) ArcMap 10.1. Available at:
Franklin, J. (2009) Mapping Species Distributions: Spatial Inference and Prediction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gauslaa, Y., Coxson, D. S. & Solhaug, K. A. (2012) The paradox of higher light tolerance during dessiccation in rare old forest cyanolichens than more widespread co-occurring chloro- and cephalolichens. New Phytologist 195: 812822.
GeoNova (2015) Geographic Data Directory. Accessed 10 December 2015.
Glavich, D. A., Geiser, L. H. & Mikulin, A. G. (2005) Rare epiphytic coastal lichen habitats, modeling, and management in the Pacific Northwest. Bryologist 108: 377390.
Goward, T. & Arsenault, A. (2000) Cyanolichen distribution in young unmanaged forests: a dripzone effect? Bryologist 103: 2837.
Goward, T., Brodo, I. M. & Clayden, S. R. (1998) Rare Lichens of Canada. A Review and Provisional Listing. Ottawa: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
Government of Canada (2017) Station Results - 1971–2000 Climate Normals and Averages. Retrieved from Government of Canada, accessed 5 June 2017:
Hinds, J. W. & Hinds, P. L. (2007) The Macrolichens of New England. New York: New York Botanical Garden Press.
Jørgensen, P. M. & Sipman, H. J. M. (2007) The lichen Fuscopannaria leucosticta (Tuck.) P. M. Jørg. found in the tropics. Lichenologist 39: 305307.
Lange, O. L., Kilian, E. & Ziegler, H. (1986) Water vapor uptake and photosynthesis of lichens: performance differences in species with green and blue-green algae as phycobionts. Oecologia 71: 104110.
Maass, W. & Yetman, D. J. (2002) COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Boreal Felt Lichen Erioderma pedicellatum . Ottawa: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
McMullin, R. T., Ure, D., Smith, M., Clapp, H. & Wiersma, Y. F. (2017) Ten years of monitoring air quality and ecological integrity using field-identifiable lichens at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site in Nova Scotia, Canada. Ecological Indicators 81: 214221.
Merinero, S., Martínez, I., Rubio-Salcedo, M. & Gauslaa, Y. (2015) Epiphytic lichen growth in Mediterranean forests: effects of proximity to the ground and reproductive stage. Basic and Applied Ecology 16: 220230.
Milne, R. I. & Abbott, R. J. (2002) The origin and evolution of tertiary relict floras. Advances in Botanical Research 38: 281314.
Neily, P., Quigley, E. & Stewart, B. (2008) Mapping Nova Scotia’s Natural Disturbance Regimes Report FOR 2008-5 . Truro, Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.
Pearce, J. & Ferrier, S. (2000) Evaluating the predictive performance of habitat models developed using logistic regression. Ecological Modelling 133: 225245.
Phillips, S. J. & Dudík, M. (2008) Modeling of species distributions with Maxent: new extensions and a comprehensive evaluation. Ecography 31: 161175.
Phillips, S. J., Dudík, M., Elith, J., Graham, C. H., Lehmann, A., Leathwick, J. & Ferrier, S. (2009) Sample selection bias and presence-only distribution models: implications for background and pseudo-absence data. Ecological Applications 19: 181197.
Phillips, S. J., Dudik, M. & Schapire, R. E. (2017) Maxent software for modeling species niches and distributions (Version 3.4.1). Accessed 31 August 2017. Available at:
Poelt, J. (1963) Flechtenflora und Eiszeit in Europa. Phyton 10: 206215.
Richardson, D. H. S. & Cameron, R. P. (2004) Cyanolichens: their response to pollution and possible management strategies for their conservation in northeastern North America. Northeastern Naturalist 11: 122.
Sing-chi, C. (1983) Two pairs of vicarious species of Cypripedium (Orchidaceae) from Eastern Asia and Eastern North America. Brittonia 35: 159163.
Spribille, T. (2009) Fuscopannaria leucosticta (Tuck.) P. M. Jørg. rediscovered in Europe. Lichenologist 41: 209210.
Werth, S., Tømmervik, H. & Elvebakk, A. (2005) Epiphytic macrolichen communities along regional gradients in northern Norway. Journal of Vegetation Science 16: 199208.
Westwood, A. R. (2016) Conservation of three forest landbird species at risk: characterizing and modelling habitat at multiple scales to guide management planning. Ph.D. thesis, Dalhousie University.
Wisz, M. S., Hijmans, R. J., Li, J., Peterson, A. T., Graham, C. H. & Guisan, A. (2008) Effects of sample size on the performance of species distribution models. Diversity and Distributions 14: 763773.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Lichenologist
  • ISSN: 0024-2829
  • EISSN: 1096-1135
  • URL: /core/journals/lichenologist
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed