Overview

Brief Summary

Cladonia perforata is a rare species of lichen known by the common names Florida perforate cladonia and Florida perforate reindeer lichen. It is endemic to the state of Florida in the United States, where it is known from 16 populations in four widely separated areas of the state [1]. It is native to a very specific type of Florida scrub habitat which is increasingly rare and patchy due to habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation [1].  In 1993 this was the first species of lichen to be federally listed as an endangered species of the United States [2][3].

  • [1] USFWS. Cladonia perforata Five-year Review. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc1095.pdf
  • [2] Teague, D. and D. Ripley. A tale of two species. Endangered Species Bulletin. November, 2000.
  • [3] Milius, S. Yikes! The Lichens Went Flying - lichens as endangered species. Science News August 26, 2000.
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Florida endemic: restricted to small areas in northwest and central Florida, with one occurrence in southeast Florida.

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Range Description

Three major regions of occurrence exist. 1) North Gulf Coast, including a single natural subpopuation (the largest known subpopulation "East Pass", 0.5-1 km²), and one remnant thallus after Hurricane Opal destroyed two subpopulations, "Pole 28" and "A2". In addition, two reintroduced populations (at Pole 28 and A2) were established in 2000. 2) Lake Wales Ridge. This region contains the bulk (22 of 32) of the known subpopulations, scattered across single endemic-rich ridge system. Many subpopulations are severely fragmented and dispersal among them very unlikely. The total area of occupancy in this ca. 2,700 km² area is probably on the order less than 5 km² in disjunct patches. Two locations are important for the amount of protected habitat, active fire-management programs and presence of several occupied (with large areas occupied) and unoccupied habitat patches: Archbold Biological Station with 7 subpopulations, Ridge State Forest with 3, and Lake Apthorpe Preserve with 2. Several privately-held populations are of high habitat quality and large area of occupancy. 3) The Atlantic Coast Ridge has two important locations, but overall low extent of occurrence (ca. 720 km²) and area of occupancy. Jonathan Dickinson State Park protects several subpopulations (including one large one at County Line Rd.), and the Bureau of Land Management protects two subpopulations at Jupiter Lighthouse. Several other scattered sites are privately held, small in area occupied and unlikely to persist under dense tree canopies or without being extirpated for coastal development projects.

Population size - in the traditional sense - for Cladonia perforata is difficult to estimate. It consists of strictly asexual, branching structures which reproduce via vegetative fragmentation. Genetic studies have so far supported an asexual life history (pers. obs.). Effective population sizes are typically one or two genetic individuals per subpopulation. Therefore density and area occupied are probably better measures of abundance for this species than count data. Most subpopulations probably contain less than 0.1 km² coverage of lichen, with a few containing only a few square meters. The degree of fragmentation is naturally high, since appropriate habitat (open Florida scrub) is naturally patchy and disjunct. Most locations are separated by many kilometers of intervening unsuitable habitats and even locations supporting several subpopulations in close proximity still have what are probably very effective barriers to dispersal among them.
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Historic Range:
U.S.A. (FL)

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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

A Cladonia with perforate podetia. The podetia usually exceed 2 mm in diameter, while those of related C. unciales are much narrower. No other Cladonia in the U.S. has broad, stout, perforate podetia. C. perforata is very loosely to not at all attached to substrate. Thallus is very brittle when dry, leathery when wet.

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Type Information

Holotype for Cladonia perforata A. Evans
Catalog Number: US
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): G. Llano
Year Collected: 1945
Locality: Santa Rosa Island, Eglin Field., Escambia, Florida, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Evans, A. W. 1952. Trans. Connecticut Acad. Arts. 38: 326.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Sandy openings in stablized sand dunes with Florida scrub vegetation. Often associated with Ceratiola.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Cladonia perforata occurs primarily in open Florida rosemary scrub, with large gaps between shrubs and plenty of bare sand and other terrestrial lichens. These scrub habitats are fossil inland dunes or stable coastal dunes. It occupies the highest topographic positions throughout most of this range. In the North Gulf Coast region, it can occur downslope into seasonal depressional wetlands with dense herbaceous cover, but saltwater overwash will kill it. C. perforata grows slowly and branches once a year. Fragmentation (vegetative reproduction) can happen via trampling or natural breakage after decades of growth in situ.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: Florida endemic, known from about 12 sites total: 6 on Archbold Biological Station, 2 on Santa Rosa Island in northwest Florida, 1 in Martin County in southeast Florida, and several others in Highlands County (Martin 1993, Buckley & Hendrickson 1988, Wilhelm & Burkhalter 1990, Milius, 2000).

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General Ecology

Sprouter as asexual dispersal mechanism. Tolerates gentle natural motion of shifting sand, but cannot tolerate more severe disturbance or trampling.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Persistence: PERENNIAL, EVERGREEN

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Reproduction

"Pollen vector" applies to conidia dispersal. "Dispersal vector" applies to vegetative propagules. Spore dispersal method or existence currently unknown.

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled

Reasons: Florida endemic, known from about a dozen sites in three parts of the state, rare within restricted range, habitat threatened, species relatively fragile and intolerant of trampling or fire yet requiring disturbance-maintained habitats.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii,iv,v)c(iii,iv)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2003

Assessor/s
Yahr, R. (Lichen Specialist Group)

Reviewer/s
Wolseley, P.A., Smith, C. & Scheidegger, C. (Lichen Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Cladonia perforata occurs in three widely disjunct regions of Florida (North Gulf Coast, Lake Wales Ridge and Atlantic Coast Ridge) over a total extent of approximately 3,400 km². Each region consists of several to many severely fragmented occupied habitat patches (subpopulations), each typically on the order of one km² or less. The total number of such subpopulations is only just over 30. Reproduction is limited to poorly-dispersing vegetative fragments that have few opportunities to colonize these disjunct habitat patches. Of the approximately 32 known natural locations (two locations are reintroduced), only 22 are protected. Along both the Lake Wales Ridge and the Atlantic Coast Ridge, unprotected subpopulations lie on high-value real estate, making their long-term persistence unlikely without protection. Even protected subpopulations are occasionally subject to fires and hurricanes, periodic natural disturbances which influence both long-term habitat maintenance and short term subpopulation persistence. A hurricane in 1996 severely impacted the North Gulf Coast region, extirpating two of the three subpopulations and reducing the third subpopulation by more than 70%. Fires are important for opening shrub and tree canopies while they threaten subpopulations in the short term. Low-fuel patches that don’t carry fire are critical refugia for lichens and must be maintained for subpopulations to persist. C. perforata subpopulations are largest in intermediate times between fires, where populations have rebounded after disturbance, but where canopies remain open.
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 04/27/1993
Lead Region:   Southeast Region (Region 4) 
Where Listed:


Population detail:

Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Cladonia perforata, see its USFWS Species Profile

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Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%

Comments: Habitat is being lost to development in most of this lichen's range.

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Population

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Comments: Trampling, over-collection, fire, and succession. Already restricted habitat is under development pressure. Wind (esp. hurricanes) may carry fragments beyond boundaries of small sites, reducing species' ability to maintain itself. Species not able to disperse readily to new sites; colonization apparently only by fragmentation (Milius, 2000).

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Major Threats
The main threats to C. perforata are from habitat loss in the Lake Wales Ridge and Atlantic Coast Ridge, from hurricanes in the North Gulf Coast (overwash and windthrow into unsuitable sites), and from improper fire management throughout. A single hurricane or fire can reduce subpopulations by more than 70% or extirpate it entirely. Dispersal from disjunct sites is extremely unlikely.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Cladonia perforata is Federally Listed Endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, making all Federal landowners with C. perforata responsible for its protection and conservation under the Endangered Species Act. The state of Florida additionally has an active conservation and natural heritage program which tracks listed species (C. perforata is state-listed endangered and has a Heritage Ranking of G1N1) and works to conserve them through land acquisition and management. At least two Lake Wales Ridge sites were acquired under a state project for conservation and recreation lands.

Conservation actions also include reintroduction efforts at Eglin Air Force Base, home to the largest subpopulation (East Pass) and the two extirpated sites at Pole 28 and A10. East Pass was used as a source population for these reintroductions and there is ongoing monitoring of hurricane impacts and reintroduced population success. Post-fire recovery is being monitored at several subpopulations on the Lake Wales Ridge. Fire management is a critical part of conservation of this and many other Florida scrub species and is ongoing throughout most protected sites along the Lake Wales Ridge and the Atlantic Coast Ridge.
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Wikipedia

Cladonia perforata

Cladonia perforata is a rare species of lichen known by the common names Florida perforate cladonia and Florida perforate reindeer lichen. It is endemic to the state of Florida in the United States, where it is known from 16 populations in four widely separated areas of the state.[1] It is native to a very specific type of Florida scrub habitat which is increasingly rare and patchy due to habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation.[1] In 1993 this was the first species of lichen to be federally listed as an endangered species of the United States.[2][3]

Contents

Description[edit]

This lichen is relatively large, its yellow-gray, slightly glossy fruiting body measuring up to 6 centimeters (2.4 in) in length.[4] The fruiting body, the visible part of the lichen, is a branching, tufted structure.[4] The branches, or podetia, are lined with hyphae on their inner surfaces and are perforated with tiny holes.[4] It and similar species undergo vegetative reproduction in which it clones by physically breaking up and spreading.[1] No sexual reproduction has been observed.[1] The lichen's method of biological dispersal is to have its fragments swept or blown to new locations.[1]

In general, this species is poorly known. Little information is available about its life history, including its precise reproductive cycle, growth, population dynamics, or any seasonal changes it might experience.[1]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The habitat of this species is the white sand of the Florida scrub, already a rare and endangered type of ecosystem, and the lichen requires a specific spot within the habitat.[1] It can be found on high dunes and ridges among sand pines (Pinus clausa) in the part of the scrub understory called "rosemary balds": land dominated by Florida rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides).[5] The lichen occurs in very dry, open sites on sand with little plant cover around it. It can often be found tangled up in clumps with other species of lichen.[5]

It is difficult to estimate the abundance of this species. Much of the current data is outdated. The organism in question is often small and sometimes hard to spot on the ground or in the leaf litter.[1] Furthermore, what constitutes one individual organism is not always apparent; one living lichen may be several centimeters long or just a tiny fragment. Populations fluctuate often, occurrences are destroyed, and several new ones have been discovered and rediscovered in recent years.[1] The species was first discovered in 1945 on Eglin Air Force Base property on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola.[2][6] This, the lichen's type locality, was later paved and the population presumably destroyed.[6] A population was rediscovered in this area of the Florida Panhandle in 1989.[2][7] The species has a disjunct distribution: the other populations are located on the east and west coasts of the main peninsula of Florida.

Conservation concerns[edit]

Threats to this species include development of its habitat for residential, agricultural, and commercial use, pollution and trash dumping, off-road vehicle use, trampling and crushing by people, animals, and vehicles, and severe storms and wildfires.[1][4] Natural processes such as hurricanes and fires are necessary for maintaining habitat such as Florida scrub, but these events do kill the lichen by burning it,[8] crushing it to small pieces, sweeping it away in storm surges, or burying it in sand.[1] Hurricane Opal in 1995, for example, destroyed at least two known occurrences of the lichen.[1][2] Lichen rescue operations are sometimes performed in the days after a hurricane in an effort to unbury individuals from sand and debris, and even pluck them out of trees where they have landed.[1][3] Some individuals are collected on beds of sand and brought indoors when storms are expected.[1] Even if the lichen itself is undamaged in a storm, parts of its rare, limited potential habitat may be rendered unsuitable by disturbances.[5]

The lichen is also vulnerable because it is slow-growing, slow to recover after mortality, inefficient in its dispersal, and already rare with unstable populations. Its patchy, fragmented distribution makes it likely to experience isolation and extirpation of small populations.[1][2] Since most populations are just clusters of clones, each population is extremely valuable in the conservation of the species. The populations occur in North, Central, and South Florida, and can be separated by hundreds of miles; gene flow between them is often highly unlikely.[1]

New populations have been reintroduced to appropriate habitat where the species has been observed before.[2][8] Many populations are located in areas that are protected from development and fragmentation. At last review the species was still considered endangered.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q USFWS. Cladonia perforata Five-year Review. 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Teague, D. and D. Ripley. A tale of two species. Endangered Species Bulletin. November, 2000.
  3. ^ a b Milius, S. Yikes! The Lichens Went Flying - lichens as endangered species. Science News August 26, 2000.
  4. ^ a b c d USFWS. Endangered or threatened status for seven Central Florida plants. Federal Register April 27, 1993.
  5. ^ a b c USFWS. Cladonia perforata Species Fact Sheet. Multispecies Recovery Plan for South Florida.
  6. ^ a b Buckley, A. and T. O. Hendrickson. (1988). The distribution of Cladonia perforata Evans on the southern Lake Wales Ridge in Highlands County, Florida. The Bryologist 91(4): 354–356.
  7. ^ Wilhelm, G. S. and J. R. Burkhalter. (1990). Cladonia perforata, the Northwest Florida population. The Bryologist 93(1): 66–68.
  8. ^ a b Yahr, R. (2003). Cladonia perforata. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2010. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 February 2011.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Generally regarded as a distinct species of lichen; recognized by Esslinger and Egan in their 1995 ABLS checklist, by the Florida Natural Areas Inventory Program, and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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