Welcome to the web-home of the Allen Lichen Lab

We conduct research on lichen genomics, evolution, biodiversity and conservation. We are located at Eastern Washington University, in Cheney, WA.

Urban Lichens: A Field Guide for Northeastern North America

Available for pre-order through Yale University Press.

A practical field guide to the common lichens found in the northeastern megalopolis, including New York City, Toronto, Boston/New Haven, Philadelphia, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., and as far west as Chicago.

Integrating Digitization, Exploration, Genomics, and Student Training to Illuminate Forces Shaping Appalachian Lichen Distributions

We recently received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation to study forces that shape lichen distributions. This project will be conducted in collaboration with James Lendemer at The New York Botanical Garden. Multiple job and graduate student positions are available as part of this project. If you are interested in project positions please don’t hesitate to reach out!

The degree to which forces contribute individually, and through interactions, to mold species distributions is not fully understood, especially for smaller, sessile, symbiotic organisms. This project will use extensive new data resources for lichen species and a comparative population genomics approach for lichens with contrasting distributions to build an integrative understanding of how extrinsic mechanisms and intrinsic biological attributes shape species distributions in the Appalachian Mountain Biodiversity Hotspot. Existing large-scale biodiversity datasets will be integrated with data from a new field inventory to fill the last large Appalachian lichen sampling gap. This will then be used to build comprehensive datasets for lichen distribution size and reproductive traits. Comparative population genomics of species with contrasting distribution sizes will yield datasets for symbiont specificity, gene flow, and adaptation. These data will then collectively be used to test hypotheses that will provide a new perspective on how forces shape species distributions in obligate symbiotic organisms where individuals are non-motile.

If you have a lichen-related inquiry, or are interested in joining the lab, please see the contact page and feel free to get in touch.