Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Nielson, Gabrielle Lynne [1].

 Lichens of Antelope Island: Cambrian and Proterozoic Era.

Lichens are cryptic symbioses with fascinatingly complex living strategies. Most genera evolved before continental drift began (100-200 mya); their distribution is tied to Earth’s climatic and geologic history (Brodo et al., 2001). Antelope Island (AI) is a remarkable window back in time, it contains some of the oldest rocks in the world (2.8-3.5Ga) and formations left by ancient oceans, glaciers, and other geologic events (Willis et al., 2000). The extreme conditions of AI and the surrounding Great Salt Lake (GSL) could give lichens a competitive edge over fast-growing vascular plants. Previously, one species (Psora tuckermanii) was identified from Antelope Island by Sereno Watson in 1867. It would remain the only identified species for 154 years, until I began collection in fall 2021. Lichens were identified using standard methods and the key in Lichens of North America (LoNA, Brodo, 2001), the LoNA expanded key, the Consortium of North American Lichen Herbaria (CNALH) database, chemical spot tests, and microscopy. A modified approach for collection (scraping) was made to preserve strata. Specimens are being cataloged into the Mary Carver Hall Herbarium at Weber State University and the CNALH database for public access. To date, 10 species have been identified on Cambrian and Proterozoic era tintic quartzite formations on the north side of Buffalo Point: Amundsenia approximata, Xanthomendoza trachyphylla, Candelariella terrigena, Cladonia chlorophaea, Protoparmeliopsis bipruinosa, Protoparmeliopsis muralis, Lobothallia alphoplaca, Polysporina simplex, Protoparmeliopsis peltata, and Rhizoplaca melanophthalma. Four rare species might only appear together on Antelope Island, one being the second record of A. approximata and the first occurrence of P. bipruinosa in Utah. The species identified and their records in CNALH has important implications for AI’s ecology at large, one example being winter forage of pronghorn (antelope) on AI. Cosmopolitan and endemic species were found, some tied to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) indicating disjuncts from an arctic population. Antelope Island could be a diverse refuge for many more rare species, potentially containing ‘missing links’ of fungal and algal lineages used in time-calibrated phylogenetics. The range of strata and rare old formations could be used to model and compare ecological succession on specific substrates. Extant microbial mats (microbialites, MISS) could help us delimit conclusive lichen vs ambiguous fossils, all to better understand the ecology of the early earth and if lichens helped shape it. Willis, G. C., King, J. J., & Doelling, H. H. (2000). Introduction to the geology of Antelope Island, Utah. The Geology of Antelope Island Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Geological Society.Yonkee, W. A., Willis, G. C., & Doelling, H. H. (2000). Proterozoic and Cambrian sedimentary and low-grade metasedimentary rocks on Antelope Island. The Geology of Antelope Island, Davis County, Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Geological Society.Watson, S. (1867). Psora tuckermanii. [Lichen specimen from the U.S. Geological Exploration of the 40th Parallel under Clarence King]. United States National Herbarium, Smithsonian.Brodo, I. M., Sharnoff, S., & Sharnoff, S. D. (2001). Lichens of North America. Yale University Press.

1 - Weber State University, Microbiology, 4170 S Lily Dr, Roy, UT, 84067, USA


Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PBL010
Abstract ID:1001
Candidate for Awards:None

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