Alan Fryday

Current Research

My research is centered on the taxonomy and ecology of saxicolous and terricolous, crustose lichens of high-rainfall oceanic regions, which are most abundant in the high elevation/latitude ecosystems of both hemispheres.

My graduate work was carried out in the British Isles (mostly in the Scottish Highlands), with my doctoral dissertation on The ecology and taxonomy of montane lichens in the British Isles. This gave me a firm understanding of the diversity and importance of lichens in arctic-alpine ecosystems in northern Europe and resulted in several publications on taxonomy (including numerous undescribed species and region revisions of the non-yellow species of Rhizocarpon and Porpidia) and ecology, including phytosociology of alpine lichen communities, the ecology of areas of late snow-lie, and the effects of grazing on terricolous lichen communities. This research also emphasised the previously unrecognized importance of the saxicolous lichen biota of the western Highlands (see Publications - Europe).

North America:
I also maintain my interest in Northern Hemisphere (especially North American) regions and have been involved in floristic studies of Katahdin (Maine), Mt Washington (New Hampshire), Yosemite National Park (California) and, most recently, Glacier Bay National Park (SE Alaska) and stressed habitats (e.g., heavy-metal mine tailings, serpentine) in Maine. (see Publications - North America).

Southern Supolar Region: Since moving to the Michigan State University herbarium in 1999 and having access to Henry Imshaug's extensive collections from the Southern Hemisphere, I have become increasingly interested in the rich, and largely undescribed crustose, saxicolous lichen biota of the Southern Supolar Region. Recent publications in this area have included describing new species from the Falkland Islands, Iles Kerguelen, Tasmania, and New Zealand as well as a regional revision of the genera Tephromela and Calvitimela (see Publications - Southern Subpolar Region). A web-site dedicated to the lichen biota of this region is available here.

On a wider level, I am interested in the phytosociology of crustose lichens and integrating them into vegetation analyses, as well as the lichen biotas of different rock mineralizations and stressed habitats (e.g., mine tailings, serpentine). (see Publications - Ecology).
A presentation of recent research in South Africa can be seen here.

I am also fascinated by lichen distribution patterns and the contribution they can make to biogeography and associated disciplines. A particular interest is the distribution of lichen species in the Weddellian Geobiographic Province, which encompassed the coasts of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, western Antarctica, and southern South America. These areas formed a contiguous land mass during the Cretaceous through Eocene and current lichen distribution patterns reflect this. Current lichen distributions can be further sub-divided into species that had an oceanic Weddellian distribution, and are known from southern Chile and the islands of the Campbell Plateau (New Zealand), and those with a continental Weddellian distribution, that are more widespread throughout the Southern Subpolar Region.

Recent Collaborators:
Linda in Arcadia (Kastri, Greece) - nomenclature
Brian Coppins (Edinburgh, Scotland) - taxonomy of British lichens & nomenclature
Damien Ertz (Meise, Belgium) - taxonomy of Southern Subpolar lichens
Gintaras Kantvilas (Tasmania, Australia) - taxonomy of Tasmanian lichens
Allison Knight (Dunedin, New Zealand) - taxonomy of New Zealand lichens
James Lendemer (New York, NY) - taxonomy and nomenclature of Megalaria s. lat. & lichens of Yosemite NP
Ian Medeiros (Durham, NC) - lichens of South Africa
Ryan O’Dell (Hollister, CA) - lichens of California serpentine
Alan Orange (Cardiff, Wales (UK) - lichens of the Falkland Islands
Dag Øvstedal (Bergen, Norway) - taxonomy of Southern Subpolar lichens
Nathaniel Pope (Davis, CA/Austin TX) - lichens of serpentine in California and South Africa
Nishanta Rajakaruna (San Luis Obispo, CA) - lichens of serpentine and mine tailings in California, Maine and South Africa
Toby Spribille (Edmonton, Canada) - lichens of Glacier Bay National Park
Stefan Siebert (Potchefstroom, South Africa) - lichens of serpentine rocks in South Africa
Måns Svensson (Uppsala, Sweden) - lichens of Glacier Bay National Park

Photographs © Måns Svensson & Toby Spribille

New Zealand