Lichens of North America / Irwin M. Brodo, Sylvia Duran Sharnoff, Stephen Sharnoff ; with selected drawings by Susan Laurie-Bourque and published in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Main Author: Brodo, Irwin M.
Other Authors: Sharnoff, Sylvia Duran, Sharnoff, Stephen, Laurie-Bourque, Susan.
Published: New Haven : Yale University Press, 2001.
Subjects:
Review by Choice Review

Lichens come to life in this book, which features the best color photographs of these strange symbiotic communities that we are likely to see for a long time. The wonderful images delight the senses and provide most of the book's merit. A multichapter introduction will inform beginning students about lichen biology and lore, but its lack of depth and sparse bibliography will leave advanced scholars high and dry. The chapters tend to rehash material, both text and illustrations, that has been published within the last decade or so. The taxonomy is selective and in places, more than 20 years out-of-date. Distribution maps for the species are fairly accurate but lack resolution because of their small size. Amateurs may be drawn to the sparkly, newly coined "common names" appended to each species. The names are an artifice that can be attributed to the authors' creativity, but they sap credibility from a serious scientific work with a supposed focus on taxonomy and attendant botanical nomenclature. The volume is too big to be carried on a field trip but appropriate as a beginning laboratory resource or on the coffee table. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates. S. Hammer Boston University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.