Lichens of Cypress Island, Washington: The Seen and the Unseen

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2023


A group of Northwest Lichenologists explored the lichen biodiversity on Cypress Island in the San Juan Islands on the Pacific coast north of Seattle, hosted by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. We compiled our observations separately by habitat: (1) uplands with serpentine bedrock, (2) uplands with basalt bedrock, and (3) rocky saltwater shorelines. Combining our results with previous efforts, we report 243 lichen species from Cypress Island. Despite the respectable species list, we were struck by the absence of numerous species that are regionally common. We report those here, but were unable to be convinced by various hypotheses for their absence. They fall in several functional groups, including nitrophiles, cyanolichens, oceanic species, and widespread green algal foliose species. In addition to a traditional species list, we present two artistic expressions of the lichen biota.


Order of authors is alphabetical.