Mapping distribution of lichen traits

A new tool combines lichen occurrences and trait data to allow geographic trait meta-analyses

Data resources used via GBIF : 3,879,389 species occurrences
Powdered wrinkle lichen (Tuckermannopsis chlorophylla)

Powdered wrinkle lichen (Tuckermannopsis chlorophylla) by JK Johnson via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Lichens are composite organisms arising from symbioses between fungi and algae or cyanobacteria, respectively, with a wide range of traits, several of which are linked to ecosystem services. To better understand the role lichens play in ecosystems, this study combines spatial occurrences of lichenized fungi mediated by GBIF with trait data, to form LIAS gtm, a new platform for geographical tracking of lichen traits.

Part of the LIAS light service, the resulting data matrix which is updated semi-automatically every three months, can be queried through a web interface based on traits and geographic area of interest. Visualized as heat maps, the results are easily exported and allow for further interpretation and use in research. Users can perform analyses based on both single and multiple traits, and also potentially discover novel trait-trait correlations.

The LIAS gtm tool offers unique insights into the geographic distribution of lichen traits.

Rambold G, Zedda L, Coyle JR, Peršoh D, Köhler T and Triebel D (2016) Geographic heat maps of lichen traits derived by combining LIAS light description and GBIF occurrence data, provided on a new platform. Biodiversity and Conservation. Springer Nature 25(13): 2743–2751. Available at: