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Lichens of North America [Hardcover]

by Irwin M. Brodo, Ms. Sylvia Duran Sharnoff, Stephen Sharnoff
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 1, 2001 0300082495 978-0300082494 First Printing
Lichens are a unique form of plant life, the product of a symbiotic association between an alga and a fungus. The beauty and importance of lichens have long been overlooked, despite their abundance and diversity in most parts of North America and elsewhere in the world. This stunning book - the first accessible and authoritative guidebook to lichens of the North American continent - fills the gap, presenting superb colour photographs, descriptions, distribution maps, and keys for identifying the most common, conspicuous, or ecologically significant species. The book focuses on 805 foliose, fruticose, and crustose lichens (the latter rarely included in popular guidebooks) and presents information on another 70 species in the keys or notes, special attention is given to species endemic to North America. A comprehensive introduction discusses the biology, structure, uses, and ecological significance of lichens and is illustrated with 90 additional colour photos and many line drawings. English names are provided for most species, and the book also includes a glossary that explains technical terms. This visually rich and informative book will open the eyes of nature lovers everywhere to the fascinating world of lichens.

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Lichens of North America + Lichens (Smithsonian's Natural World Series) + Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
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Editorial Reviews Review

This remarkable compendium, the first (and perhaps last) of its kind, gathers current knowledge on the North American continent's store of lichens--those hard-to-classify, symbiotic composites of fungi and other organisms such as algae and cyanobacteria.

Lichens are, admittedly, easy enough to overlook. They stand out in most people's minds only as the orange, green, or grayish patches that festoon rocks and trees in mountain regions. But they are far more widespread than that, writes research scientist Irwin Brodo. Nearly every bioregion has a complement, and the continent as a whole boasts nearly 3,600 species (of about 14,000 worldwide). The first part of this book offers a near-encyclopedic survey of these lichens' form, structure, reproductive patterns, physiology, and ecological role. The second is a keyed guide to the continent's genera and major groups, including descriptions, range maps, and photographs, the last by the noted nature photographers Sylvia and Stephen Sharnoff.

Though far too hefty to serve easily in the field, this fine book deserves a place in the collections of natural historians and plant biologists doing work just about anywhere in North America. --Gregory McNamee

From Library Journal

Lichens are a combination of a fungus and an alga but have a unique structure and appearance quite different from either. Existing worldwide and growing on a variety of surfaces, including rocks, soil, and trees, they may appear leafy, shrubby, mossy, crusty, or jellylike and are seen in a wide range of colors, from brilliant oranges, yellows, and reds to dull grays and browns. This huge new book, written by a world authority on lichens and emeritus research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, provides information on about 1500 of the roughly 3600 recognized North American lichens. Part 1 introduces lichens in 14 clearly written chapters that discuss their biology, ecology, geography, environmental roles, and collection. Part 2, the heart of the book, is a guide that offers identification keys to groups, genera, and species and their descriptions, with accompanying photographs and North American distribution maps. The more than 900 truly beautiful, full-color photos were taken by the Sharnoffs, nature photographers whose work has been widely published in National Geographic, Smithsonian, and elsewhere. Of value to professionals and amateurs alike, this book is certain to be a classic reference for decades to come. Highly recommended for academic and research libraries and for public libraries where interest warrants; libraries needing only a brief yet informative introduction to lichens should consider William Purvis's inexpensive Lichens (Smithsonian Institution, 2000). William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 828 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Printing edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300082495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300082494
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.9 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating , beautiful and informative... August 18, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an amateur naturalist and nature photographer I was intriqued by the colors, patterns and variety of lichens, but knew little about them. As my lichen photography collection grew,I wanted to identify the lichen species I had photographed, so I did some research. I returned over and over again to a website that highlighted the chapters and images in "Lichen's of North America." The book seemed an expensive investment for an amateur like myself, but, after reviewing other books on lichens at the library and in bookstores, I realized this book has no equal. Inevitably, I placed my order. When the book arrived, I was first surprised at how BIG it was. Hundreds of four color images jumped off the pages, each a work of art. Most importantly, the text is fascinating and easy to understand, even for a non-scientist. I read the first 14 chapters over the weekend. I was amazed by the important role lichens play in the biodiversity of life. It opened my eyes to an understudied and little understond life form that has a profound influence on the past and future of our planet. I recommend it to anyone who has any interest in biodiversity, natural succession, preserving the environment and nature in general. You will see Lichen in a whole new light!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation! October 14, 2001
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At last! This book will open the door to the world of lichens for many interested botanists, conservationists, naturalists -- and prospective lichenologists. I had high expectations of this book, and they were surpassed by far: excellent scientific information, presented in a manner accessible to both the professional and the amateur, and extremely beautiful too. The introductory chapters are excellent, and the "flora" portion has excellent keys, range maps, text, and wonderful photographs. This book is a bargain at the list price. If you have any interest in knowing about lichens in North America -- buy it, you will not be disappointed. The quality of the book is extraordinary, in all respects.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb January 11, 2002
It is hard to write about this book without an overuse of superlatives. The photographs are a naturalist's dream; they show the salient features of the lichens, but, at the same time, they are frequently works of art displaying the beauty and charm of both the subjects and their settings.The text escapes both of the usual faults of this type of book. It is neither so technical as to confuse and bore the non-specialist nor so superficial as to diminish the book's usefulness for the botanically sophisticated. Brodo's writing is clear, concise and graceful; a joy to read.The organization of the book is also all one could wish for, with a generous natural history section leading into clear, workable keys and descriptions of enough of the North American lichen species to satisfy any generalist and most specialists.All one is left to wish for is a paperback version to toss in the car.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Naturalist's Delight November 2, 2001
I haven't been this excited about a natural history book in a long time. I've been eagerly awaiting this one for two years and had high expectations from the publisher, but the reality is even better. The photos are wonderful, the descriptions clear and precise, but it is the excellent and much-needed sections on lichen natural history at the beginning of the book that will make it most useful to a wide variety of professional scientists and amateur naturalists alike.
And this book is huge enough to need its own stand - all it's lacking is the ribbon bookmark!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that's a work of art January 7, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a professional biologist, although with a minimal knowledge of lichens, I purchased a copy of the Bardo-Sharnoff-Sharnoff book and was blown away. The photographs are magnificent and well-integrated with the text. The book should serve to enlighten those who seek to understand the living curious and remarkable relationship between certain fungi and their resident cyanobacteria. This relationship we call lichens. Thanks especially to the Sharnoffs, we come to fully appreciate their subtle beauty. Sylvia Sharnoff must be smiling over this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Joy to Read July 10, 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book all naturalists will want to own, and it is not surprising that some have said that this is to lichens what Audobon's was to birds. It is a great gift to the naturalist community, courtesy of generous grants from 20 organizations. The text starts out with the basics, is clearly written, and exciting to read. The photos are outstanding. The paper is heavy coated stock: they did not skimp here. A real treasure, well worth it at twice the price. If you already know vascular plants and want to know more about the biological world, or are just fascinated by lichens, you can't go wrong.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I first discovered this book when I attended a workshop on lichens (I'm a teacher) two years ago. This is by far one of the most comprehensive guides to lichens in North America available and can also translate to other lichen guides throughout the world. This has been a fantastic addition to my personal library and I still pull it out and read it at home. Since I also collect and identify lichens for my classes, it is often used. I purchased three copies for my students to use during my lichen identification unit at my school. It is easy to use once you develop mastery of the terminology (helps that I'm a science teacher). I have a number of field guides and this ranks among the best. Although not useful for field work due to its size and weight, you can easily use it at home. The author obviously demonstrates his mastery of lichenology and identification techniques throughout the book. Updates can also be found on the book's website as science is an ever-changing field. This is a must have for anyone interested in lichens.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars great book about lichens
I hared about this book from my friend and I tried to find it online but I failed and I hope any one who can provide my any website or link so I can get it .
Published 1 month ago by ali
5.0 out of 5 stars spectacular photos are good for the imagination
Lichens of North America is great for lots of reasons:

Great photos for making you interested in lichens in the first place! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Natalie Howe
5.0 out of 5 stars Lichens of North America
It is hard to believe how big this hard bound book is. What a comprehensive book! Many of the lichens I will never see, as they are in other parts of the country, but the ones I... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Catharine Gunderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the environmental studies student.
This was a big on my daughters wish list. She specializes in Lichens. Her professor had this book. It didn't disappoint.
Published 3 months ago by Carol Gillette
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendously valuable contribution!
I was in school with Irwin Brodo at Michigan State. It has been many years since I studied lichens so I bought this book to bring me back to those happy days. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Judith A. Kotar
5.0 out of 5 stars An enclyclopedic look at lichens.
For anyone looking for an in depth Id and information guide to these incredible organisms. The quality of photos is very helpful.
Published 10 months ago by michael marklevitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough Book
This book is huge and has great plates and illustrations. I don't know where else you would find such a thorough and well researched book about lichens.
Published 13 months ago by A. McKinnon
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent field guide
This is not a field guide you'll be taking backpacking unless you hire a porter, but it is a lichen lover's dream book. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Crow
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
This book is a scientific work of art. The identification key is one of the best.

I am currently studying lichen at university and this book is my partner in crime. Read more
Published 16 months ago by rhea derke
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Coffee Table Book and 1st Rate Science
This is a gorgeous coffee table book and 1st rate science. The beautiful photographs will change the way you see the world around you.
Published 18 months ago by tgasloli
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