July 14-20, 2013
Maine’s Hancock and Sullivan Counties, with their rocky shorelines and inland hills, are rich with lichen species and biofilms. Buildings and structures made with granite from local quarries host lichens and biofilms. Imported grave markers of granite, marble, slate, and sandstone from other New England states and foreign countries are found in cemeteries, and these markers also host lichens and biofilms. This seminar, will study the physical, chemical, ecological, and aesthetic relationships between lichens, biofilms, and stone.
Different lichen species grow on different stone types in different environments. Lichen growth is influenced by a stone’s mineralogy and condition, and by the microclimates created by plant cover, open-air exposure, proximity to water, stone orientation, and surface topography. Biofilms also show diversity with their presence on different stone types and in different environments. The interactions between lichens and biofilms and to what extent lichens and biofilms protect or harm stone surfaces from weathering are questions that will be discussed.
Lectures will cover basic lichen morphology and species identification; biofilm “morphology;” the role of lichens and biofilms in the environment; basic geology; the history of stone quarrying, finishing, and construction; and the history and contemporary practices of preservation “treatments” for stone. Field trips are planned for forest and shore environments, a granite quarry, a gravel pit, and several cemeteries. Examination and identification of lichens, biofilms, and stones will be undertaken in the field and in the laboratory. The impact of surface manipulation of stone (cutting, polishing, and chemical “treatments”) and how these impacts may influence (or not) the growth of lichens and biofilms will also be examined. As a class project, participants will compile a checklist of the lichen species found during the field trips.
Participants are expected to represent a wide variety of disciplines and avocations; the pursuit of individual interests will be encouraged. While prior knowledge of lichens, biofilms, or stone will be useful for this seminar, it is not necessary.
Judy Jacob is a Senior Conservator with the National Park Service, Northeast Region, in the New York City Field Office. She works primarily on stone monuments and masonry buildings: evaluating conditions, preparing preservation plans, and executing stabilization and repair treatments. firstname.lastname@example.org
Michaela Schmull, PhD., is a lichenologist and the Research and Curatorial Associate at the Farlow Herbarium, Harvard University. Her research interests include lichen ecology, biodiversity, and systematics. She has taught classes in plant microscopy, plant identification, and lichens and air pollution. email@example.com
Class limit – 16 students
Daily meeting times – generally from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM (lunch is at 12:30), 1:30 to 5:30 (dinner is at 7:00), from 8:00 onwards is optional, though most participants spend a few hours in the classroom after dinner for assignments and/or independent studies.
Activities during the week generally combine intensive field studies and follow-up work in the lab with lectures, discussions, and a review of the current literature. Evenings are free for independent studies, presentations, and follow-up discussions.