Saxicolous Lichens of Major Oklahoma Rock Formations

Kari Courkamp
McLoud High School
McLoud, Oklahoma

ABSTRACT

Lichens are unique organisms. Due to the complexity of identification and lack of knowledge about lichens, they are often avoided by both biologists and naturalists. Because of the limited literature on lichens, especially those which are crustose lichens, the need for this project was seen. There were four objectives in this project: 1) to create an inventory of the more common Saxicolous lichens in Oklahoma; 2) to compare the lichen composition from different rock types; 3) to continue contributing to the knowledge of lichens and increasing the public's view on their importance; 4) to donate collected lichens to the Oklahoma State University's herbarium. Lichens were collected from six major rock sites and three minor sites. Specimens were taken back to the laboratory and identified. Species' occurrence on different rock types was then observed and recorded. 109 specimens of lichens were collected and identified. This included 39 species representing 20 genera and 15 families. Families having the greatest number of species were Cladoniaceae 7 and Parmeliaceae 7.

INTRODUCTION

Lichens are unique organisms. Due to the complexity of identification and lack of knowledge of lichens, they are often avoided by both biologists and naturalists. Lichens are composed of two organisms, an alga (either green or blue-green) and a fungus (either a basidiomycete or ascomycete). These two organisms live together in a state of symbiosis, the alga photosynthesizing and providing food for the lichen and the fungus being the structure for the lichen. Lichens are commonly separated into three groups: foliose, crustose, and fruticose. Lichens are found on several different strata including trees (corticolous species), rocks (saxicolous species), and soil (terricolous species).

Lichens are rarely studied because of the extreme difficulties encountered. These difficulties include the lack of sufficient, up-to-date literature, taxonomic keys, and the lack of reference collections. Oklahoma taxonomists have limited knowledge of state lichens, and at present there are no active professional biologists researching lichens in Oklahoma. Dr. Darvin Keck of Norman, Oklahoma, a retired professor of biology, is the only lichenologist known by the researcher in Oklahoma.

Because of the limited literature on lichens, especially those which are crustose lichens, the need for this project was seen. There were four objectives in this project: 1) to create an inventory of the more common saxicolous lichens in Oklahoma; 2) to compare the lichen composition from different rock types; 3) to continue contributing to the knowledge of lichens (the researcher studied foliose lichens growing in upland and bottomland forests in 1993 and 1994) and increasing the public's view on their importance; 4) to donate collected lichens to the Oklahoma State University's herbarium.

STUDY AREAS

Lichens were collected from six major rock sites and three minor sites. The first four major rock sites are more acidic and the last two are more alkaline. 1) Red Rock Canyon, R11N, T11N, Sec. 1, in the Caddo Hills of Caddo County. This rock is classified as Rush Springs Sandstone. 2) Methodist Church Camp, R10N, T11N, Sec. 24, in Canadian County also made up of Rush Springs sandstone. 3) Happy Hollow, R12W, T2N, Sec. 18, part of the Wichita Mountains in Comanche County made up of cambrian granite rock. 3) Six acre rock, ten acre rock, and surrounding rock area in Johnston County, R5E, T3S, Sec.3, made of a pre-cambrian granite known as Tishomingo granite. 5) Travertine Creek, R3E, T1S, Sec.3, in Murray County made up of conglomerate limestone. 6) Price Falls, R2E, T1S, Sec. 32, in the Arbuckle Mountains in Murray County made up of limestone. Lichens from three rock sites in Seminole, Pottawatomie, and McCurtain counties were also sampled. Seminole, R6E, T6N, Sec. 36, and Pottawatomie, R2E, T11N, Sec. 16, County sites were made up of Garber sandstone and the site in McCurtain county, R25E, T3S, Sec. 7, in the Quachita Mountains was made up of shale rock.

(Figure 1)

METHODS AND MATERIALS

Eight different trips were taken to rock areas in Oklahoma. Rocks were inspected, and specimens were taken that could be removed. A screwdriver, a mallet, and carrying utensils were used to help in the collecting procedure. All species were labeled with the date and collection site. Specimens were taken to the laboratory and identified using three dichotomous keys, two lichen collections, and a compound microscope. Identification of many species was perplexing because of the lack of comprehensive user-friendly keys and the enormous amount of lichen terminology that needed to be mastered in order to use the complex keys. The numerous inconsistencies in different keys and resource books added to the difficulty. With the assistance of Dr. Darvin Keck and his personal dichotomous key, identification was made more accurate. Species were identified using both macroscopic and microscopic analysis. Characters analyzed for identification purposes included: thallus color, thallus classification (crustose, foliose, fruticose, squamulose), apothecia either irregular or round and cuplike, apothecia with or without exciple, exciples thalloid or proper, hymenium produced in a perithecium or apothecium, phycobiont species, and spore characteristics including color, size, septate or non-septate, and number per asci. Even with this new ability, determining species' names was difficult because of the lack of knowledge of the species in Oklahoma and the lack of knowledge of crustose lichens. Species' occurrence on different rock types was then observed and recorded.

RESULTS

109 specimens of lichens were collected and identified . This included 39 species representing 20 genera and 15 families. Families having the greatest number of species are Cladoniaceae 7 and Parmeliaceae 7. A tabular view of families is shown in Table I. For a complete list of species and their authorities refer to the annotated list in the appendix.

Cambrian granite and pre-cambrian granite had 4 species in common with 22 different species between the two. Garber sandstone and Rush Springs' sandstone had no species in common with 13 different species between the two. Granite (cambrian and pre-cambrian) and sandstone (Garber and Rush Springs) had 4 species in common with 29 different species. Granite (cambrian and pre-cambrian) and limestone (conglomerate and limestone) had 4 species in common with 23 different species. Limestone (conglomerate and limestone) and sandstone (Garber and Rush Springs) had 2 species in common with 22 different species. The more acidic rock verses the more alkaline had six species in common and 32 different species. Species' occurrence on each rock type is shown in Table II.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

This project shows the need for further lichen research. Thirteen species found in this project were ones found and noted by Dr. Darvin Keck as ones not previously reported as components of Oklahoma lichen flora. They were Buellia stigmaea, Caloplaca aurantiaca, Caloplaca flavovirescens, Candelaria concolor, Cladonia apodocarpa, Cladonia subtenuis, Diploschites scruposus, Lecidea tessellina, Physcia halei, Physcia subtilis, Verrucaria calciseda, Crocynia membraneacea, and Lepraria chlorina.

RECOMMENDATIONS

For further lichen research, one would need to contact an expert of lichenology. More recent books about lichens need to be found if possible. Attending a summer session at a biologicial station such as the one in Michigan on lichenology would benefit one wishing to continue in the field of lichenology. In Oklahoma, lichenology could be called a "lost art".

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to give my utmost appreciation to many for the assistance they gave me in conducting my research. I would like to thank my science instructor Mr. Bruce Smith, Dr. Darvin Keck for the use of his dissertation and his love of lichens, and my family for appreciating my love of lichens. I would also like to thank Alison and Erin Mainers, Cory White, and Russell Smith for accompanying me on my collecting expeditions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


APPENDIX


Species List and Their Authorities.

Table 1

Tabular View of The Families
Family Genera Species
Acarosporaceae 1 1
Buelliaceae 2 3
Caloplacaceae 1 4
Candelariaceae 1 1
Cladoniaceae 1 7
Diploschistaceae 1 1
Lecideaceae 2 4
Lecanoraceae 1 1
Parmeliaceae 3 7
Peltigeraceae 1 1
Physciaceae 1 3
Teloschistaceae 2 2
Dermatocarponaceae 1 1
Verrucariaceae 1 1
Leprariaceae 2 2
Totals: 15 20 39

Table 2

Species Occurrence by Rock Type
Species Name A B C D E F G
Acarospora citrina XX


XX

Buellia sp.
XX




Buellia stigmaea XX
XX
XX

Caloplaca sp.
XX




Caloplaca aurantiaca


XX


Caloplaca flavovirescens XX
XX
XX

Caloplaca murorum XX

XX


Candelaria concolor XX




Cladonia apodocarpa



XX

Cladonia caespiticia




XX
Cladonia chlorophaea




XX
Cladonia pyxidata




XX
Cladonia santensis




XX
Cladonia strepsilis



XX

Cladonia subtenuis




XX
Crocynia membraneacea
XX


XX
Dermatocarpon moulinsii
XX
XX XX

Diploschites scruposus




XX
Lecanora muralis


XX XX

Lecidea albocaerulescens





XX
Lecidea tessellina




XX
Lecidea virginiensis




XX
Lepraria chlorina




XX
Parmelia bolliana




XX
Parmelia conspersa
XX XX
XX

Parmelia isidiata XX


XX

Parmelia stenophylla



XX

Parmotrema michauxianum



XX

Parmotrema tinctorum XX





Peltigeria sp.



XX

Physcia aipolia XX





Physcia halei
XX
XX XX

Physcia subtilis XX
XX



Psora sp.



XX

Rinodina oreina XX





Teloschistes chrysophthalmus



XX

Verrucaria calciseda
XX




Xanthoparmelia subramigera



XX

Xanthoria sorediata XX





Total Species 10 8 4 5 16 11 1


A. Cambrian granite           D. Limestone 
B. Conglomerate limestone     E. Pre-cambrian granite 
C. Garber sandstone           F. Rush Springs sandstone
                              G. Shale