Lichens are among the most colourful and abundant organisms in the world. They provide food and nesting material for a wide variety of wildlife, contribute nutrients to the soil, and are indicators of both undisturbed ecosystems and clean air. This guide to the lichens of California draws new attention to these ecologically important organisms.
Stephen Sharnoff is research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the University and Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. A renowned nature photographer best known for his contributions to the definitive reference Lichens of North America, he is currently at work on a guidebook to the wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada. He lives in Berkeley, CA.