Caloplaca obamae is narrowly endemic to a single small island within the larger Channel Islands of southern California. It occurs in biological soil crust communities that have been heavily impacted by past activities and continue to be threatened by multiple forces.
Caloplaca obamae is narrowly endemic to Santa Rosa Island, an island within the Channel Islands that lie off the coast of southern California near Los Angeles.
Demographic studies are needed to assess and monitor populations sizes. Populations are currently presumed to be stable although extant populations likely represent remnants of a once larger range in the region.
Population Trend: Stable
The species occurs on soil in biological soil crusts on Pleistocene marine terraces and benches in associated canyons on the north side of the Santa Rosa Fault, from the bluffs of Vail Ranch on Beecher Bay to Soledad Canyon. It also grows on stabilized dune fields at Carrington Point.
Historically the habitats in which the species occurs have been heavily grazed for over a hundred years, which has led to habitat degradation throughout the region. Current threats include habitat shifts/alteration due to climate change, competition from invasive plants, air pollution, road/utility construction and maintenance, recreation and other activities that significantly disturb fragile soil crust communities.
The entire range of this species is lies within a national park. However, there are conservation actions that can be taken including educating and training land managers and local botanists to identify the species so we can monitor its health as well as contracting experts to conduct detailed monitoring at various time intervals (every 5 to 10 years), federally listing the species as endangered in the United States, and restoration of the habitats in which the species occurs. Grazing has stopped on the island where the species occurs, so this action has already been completed.
The distribution of this species is very well understood and it is a well documented narrow endemic. Further research that will aid in the conservation of this species includes population assessments and monitoring, population genetics studies, and ecological studies that incorporate threats to the species. Additionally, a species recovery plan needs to be written.
K. Knudsen 2009: Caloplaca obamae, a new species from Santa Rosa Island. - Opuscula Philolichenum 6: 37-40.
Knudsen, K./ J. Kocourková 2012: The Annotated Checklist of Lichens, Lichenicolous and Allied Fungi of Channel Islands National Park. - Opuscula Philolichenum 11: 145-302.