Lichen dating method

All else being equal, those surfaces that have been undisturbed for longer times will have colonies with larger diameters.

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In this science project, you will use lichenometry, a much more accessible method for dating relatively recent events (up to hundreds of years ago, or perhaps as many as ten thousand years ago).

The method is used with lichen species that exhibit predictable growth behavior, and is based on measuring the size of lichen colonies on exposed rock surfaces.

You will want to start this science project by doing background research to develop your expertise on the biology of lichens and on the methods of lichenometry.

When doing your research on lichen biology, be sure to figure out the following terms: symbiosis, symbiont, mycobiont, photobiont, and thallus.

For an accurate calibration, you will need to know the age of the features and/or disturbances at your site(s).

You may want to consider using lichens growing on gravestones to do this (the original calibration approach used).

Other possibilities are Aspicilia and Lecidea species.

Learn to identify these local species of lichens with suitable growth patterns and determine site(s) for performing your local calibration.

You will also want to learn about the different lichen forms (foliose, fructiose, crustose, and squamulose) and determine which are suitable for lichenometry.

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