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Cetradonia linearis (A. Evans) J.C. Wei & Ahti

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Scientific name
Cetradonia linearis
Author
(A. Evans) J.C. Wei & Ahti
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Lichens
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Ascomycota
Class
Lecanoromycetes
Order
Lecanorales
Family
Cladoniaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2015-08-11
IUCN Red List Category
VU
IUCN Red List Criteria
C1
Assessors
Allen, J., Lendemer, J. & McMullin, T.
Reviewers
Scheidegger, C.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/70386009/70386019

Justification

Assessment SynopsisCetradonia linearis is a fruticose species that grows on rock outcrops and boulders and is narrowly endemic to the southern Appalachians. This species is threatened by habitat degradation due to invasive tree pests, climate change and resource extraction. Continued protection under the Endangered Species Act is required to ensure that this species does not decline.

Distinguishing Traits – The Rock Gnome Lichen looks like patches of small green fingers (squamules) growing out from rock outcrops and boulders. It is often fertile and bears black apothecia at the ends of the podetia. The podetia are solid, and occasionally branched.

Explanation of Chosen Red List Category and Criteria – This species warrants listing as Vulnerable under criterion C1. There are ~4,000 mature individuals documented throughout the range of Cetradonia linearis. The number of mature individuals was calculated from element occurrence records held by national forests, natural heritage programs, and national parks from throughout the range of the species. A mature individual was considered a distinct colony that is producing apothecia.

A generation time for this species is estimated to be 33 years, so three generations is a total of 99 years. A minimum 10% decline is projected for this species within the next three generations due to a combination of 1) Abies fraseri mortality caused by the Balsam Wooly Adelgid and climate change (Farjon 2013a), 2) Tsuga canadensis mortality caused by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Farjon 2013b), and 3) climate change impacting cloud immersion regimes for high-elevation subpopulations (Cullata and Horton 2014).


Geographic range

This species is narrowly endemic to the southern Appalachians of eastern North America (US), including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Population and Trends

There are 77 locations in North Carolina, seven in Tennessee and one location each in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia (USFWS 2013). In total, there are ~4,000 mature individuals documented throughout the range of Cetradonia linearis. The number of mature individuals was calculated from element occurrence records held by national forests, natural heritage programs and national parks from throughout the range of the species. A mature individual was considered a distinct colony that is producing apothecia. When the number of individuals was not explicitly documented, it was calculated from the total reported cover, where a mature individual was presumed to be 10 cm in diameter. Thus, if a site was documented to have 1.0 m2 cover, it was estimated to consist of 100 individuals. Sites on high-elevation rock outcrops with extensive coverage were calculated differently as their average colony size is often about 1.0 m2 ranging up to many square meters for a single colony, thus 1.0 m2 was used as the colony size for large, high-elevation locations (e.g., Devil’s Courthouse and Whiteside Mountain). Sites in streams in Great Smoky Mountains were estimated to consist of 100 individuals based on the experience of the author, since no detailed observation data was available.

Population Trend: decreasing


Habitat and Ecology

Cetradonia linearis is found in two different habitat types. Large colonies are found on high-elevation cliffs and rock outcrops, and lower elevation rock outcrops with seeping water. It is also frequently found in smaller patches on boulders in shaded, small to medium sized streams at middle to high elevations.

Threats

As many occurrences of Cetradonia linearis occur in spruce-fir forests, impacts to this highly threatened ecosystem also pose a threat to this species (White et al. 2010). Currently, the greatest concern in these ecosystems is the Balsam Wooly Adelgid, which is decimating Fraser’s Fir throughout its range (Rose and Nicholas 2008, Rollins et al. 2010, White et al. 2010, Farjon 2013a). Lower elevation subpopulations are threatened by losses of hemlocks (Tsuga sp.) due to the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Krapfl et al. 2011). There have been recorded declines abundance and health of C. linearis in forests that are heavily impacted by the Balsam Wooly Adelgid (North Carolina Element Occurrence Report 2015).

The high-elevations in this region are characterized by daily, extensive cloud immersion; however, changes in these humidity regimes and cloud immersion have recently been documented (Culatta and Horton 2014). These changes will likely impact Cetradonia linearis subpopulations negatively as this species is not tolerant of heat and desiccation.

If this species were no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act, subpopulations could be threatened by resource extraction, such as logging and mining, and road building and maintenance. However, as long as its legal protection status continues subpopulations on public lands will continue to be protected.

Conservation Actions

Monitoring the subpopulations of this species for health and abundance is the most important conservation action. First, monitoring techniques must be standardized for this species. After standard techniques are established annual or bi-annual monitoring must be conducted for subpopulations throughout the range of this species. If a decline in the species is detected, the status should be reassessed, and required actions to halt the force driving the decline should be taken. For instance, the possibility of transplanting this species should be investigated to determine whether or not reintroduction is a possibility.

Use and Trade

This species is not utilised.

Source and Citation

Allen, J., Lendemer, J. & McMullin, T. 2015. Cetradonia linearis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T70386009A70386019. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T70386009A70386019.en .Downloaded on 30 January 2021

Country occurrence