Species _amp; Ecosystems of Conservation Concern Seaside Centipede

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					 BC’s Coast Region: Species & Ecosystems of Conservation Concern
 Seaside Centipede (Heterodermia sitchensis)
  Global: G2G3 Provincial: S1 COSEWIC: E, BC List: Red



                                                                      Notes on Heterodermia sitchensis: A
                                                                      member of the family Physciaceae
                                                                      (“lichens”), this species is also
                                                                      referred to as “Sitka shield lichen”.
                                                                      Lichen are composite organisms
                                                                      consisting of a fungus and a
                                                                      photosynthetic partner, usually an
                                                                      algae, which form a symbiotic
                                                                      relationship. Lichens are generally
                                                                      assigned to one of four groups:
                                                                      “Foliose Macrolichens” (such as
                                                                      seaside centipede), “Mesolichens”,
                                                                      “Fruticose Lichens” and “Crustose
                                                                      Lichens”. These groups reflect the
                                                                      ecology and physical attributes of the
                                                                      species within each group.




 Description        This semi-erect arboreal lichen forms
                  cushiony structures about 2 cm across,
with many irregularly branched lobes. The stiff lobes are
short to slightly elongated, and quite thin (0.5-2 mm
                                                                              Lichen anatomy
wide). The top surface is usually a faint greenish-white
colour but can also have a deep blue appearance. The
smooth upper surface is strongly convex with occasional
warts and whitish spots. The lower surface has a white
colour and cottony texture. Urn-shaped reproductive
structures and minute wispy hair-like structures rim the
upper edges of the lobes.




 Look’s Like?      There are similar macro-lichens to seaside
                  centipede such as those in the genus
Hypogymnia including dog bone and beaded bone lichen. These
species commonly grow throughout the Pacific Northwest on
tree branches in association with H. sitchensis, are similar in
colour and possess tubular structures with some branches
ending in terminal cups as with seaside centipede. However
the hair-like structures, large urn-shaped outgrowths and
cottony lower surface distinguish seaside centipede from these
other lichens.




                                                                                           Dog Bone Lichen

                         BC’s Coast Region: Species & Ecosystems of Conservation Concern                       1
 Distribution      Elevation 0-50 m. Unique to North America, seaside centipede is known only from 12 locations (mostly in
                  Pacific Rim National Park), on the west coast of Vancouver Island in BC, and one site on the Oregon coast
(Cape Lookout). Nearly 70 percent of this lichen’s area of occurrence in BC is confined to the seaside forests, coves and
inlets that range along the coastline of the Mission Group Islands in Kyoquot Sound to Folger Island in Barkley Sound.




                                                                                             Coast Region
                                                                                             occurrence
                                                                                             range in relation
                                                                                             to associated
                                                                                             forest districts




 Seaside Centipede (Heterodermia sitchensis), known and potential population occurrences (red-dotted line) for the Coast
                                                        Region




                         BC’s Coast Region: Species & Ecosystems of Conservation Concern                                      2
Habitat Preferences      Seaside centipede has an
                        extremely narrow tolerance range
of habitat and nutrient requirements revolving around
wind exposure, humidity, substrate and temperature.
Ideal conditions appear restricted to localized micro-
climates found on the lower branches of maritime
variant Sitka spruce trees in association with undisturbed
old-growth western hemlock-dominated forests. There is
some indication that this species can survive desiccation
and dryer, exposed conditions. Prolonged ability to
tolerate significant changes projected to occur with
climate change is unknown.

Critical Features
                      Proximity to the marine
environment is a critical factor as this lichen depends on
moisture provided by sea-spray drift or fog. Protection
from direct exposure may also be important. Nutrient
sources appear to be a key requirement. Strong
                                                              Seaside centipede is only associated with small defoliated
associations occur in locations where base-rich nutrients
                                                              twigs in the lower canopy of Sitka spruce within several
are abundant (e.g. areas where guano accumulates below
                                                              meters of the high tide zone.
bird perches or seabird flyways or scat on sea lion haul-
outs), or where the host trees grow on, and therefore
takes up, high levels of base minerals (e.g., calcium-rich bedrock, First Nations shell middens). It has been suggested that a
minimum buffer at least 60 meters wide is required to reduce harvesting impacts to sensitive lichens such as Heterodermia
sitchensis.



 Seasonal Life Cycle

                            Jan     Feb   Mar      Apr      May      Jun     Jul    Aug      Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec

                              Reproduction is asexual, lobes break off, disperse by wind or rain and colonize new Sitka
                                                              spruce branch substrates




This lichen may live 10-15 years.

 Threats


    A short lifespan, poor dispersal ability, highly specific habitat requirements, ephemeral nature of its preferred habitat
    and limited suitable habitat availability contribute to this species rarity and vulnerability.
    This species has a life history that suggests a strong dependence on local micro-climate factors and a need for stable
    habitat not vulnerable to sudden change.
    Development, clearing, forestry and silviculture management practices, collection of branches for community purposes
    (e.g. firewood) and other disturbance factors remain a significant issue.
    Recovery and recolonization rates for disturbed, damaged or destroyed colonies could take decades in order for suitable
    host tree maturation to occur.
    Impacts from changes to the critical nutrient regimes this species requires (e.g. reduction in seabird or marine mammal
    populations that produce nutrient sources) is unknown.
    Increased severity of weather events (precipitation, storm surges) and related impacts from climate change (potential
    loss of critical moisture regimes) are difficult to project and manage for.




                          BC’s Coast Region: Species & Ecosystems of Conservation Concern                                    3
 Conservation & Management Objectives

    Apply conservation and management objectives for this species and its habitat as set out in the “Recovery Strategy for
    Seaside Centipede Lichen (Heterodermia sitchensis) in Canada.”
    Integrate inventory recommendations and approaches developed in “Lichens of British Columbia: rare species and
    priorities inventory”. Collection activities should be limited and apply practices identified in the Province’s “Voucher
    Specimen Collection, Preparation, Identification and Storage Protocol: Plants & Fungi.” Inventory activities should
    consider approaches and references identified in E-Flora’s Protocols For Rare Vascular Plant Surveys.

Specific activities should include:

    A targeted inventory is needed to determine if undiscovered populations exist elsewhere within the Coast Region and to
    update the status of all known populations.
    Monitor existing populations on an ongoing basis to assess viability and reduce potential disturbance from land use
    activities. Where suitable habitat occurs, work with land managers and land owners to ensure development or
    recreational activities do not disturb or encroach on sensitive areas.
    Conduct outreach to raise awareness of this species and how to identify it to improve distribution knowledge.
    Manage and restrict activities that will lead to changes to critical seaside centipede habitat requirements and reduce
    viability of existing populations (e.g. kindling collection, clearing and slash removal).



    This species is listed under the Federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and may be subject to protections and prohibitions
      under the BC Wildlife Act. Habitat for this species may also be governed under provincial and federal regulations
     including the Fish Protection Act, Federal Fisheries Act, National Parks Act as well as Regional and local municipal
                                                             bylaws.


 Content for this Factsheet has been derived from the following sources


B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 2010. [Internet] [Updated July 25 2007] Conservation Status Report: Heterodermia sitchensis. B.C. MoE.
Bjork, Curtis et al. 2010. [Internet] Ways of Enlichenment: The Book (online).
COSEWIC 2006. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the seaside centipede Lichen Heterodermia sitchensis in Canada.
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vi + 28 pp.
E-Flora. 2010. [Internet] Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia
Fairbarns, Matt. 2010. Aruncus Consulting [Personal comm.]
Goward, Trevor. 2004. [Internet] SEASIDE CENTIPEDE (HETERODERMIA SITCHENSIS): PORTRAIT OF A LICHEN. In the Botanical Electronic
News, No. 335 September 29.
Goward, T. 1996. [Internet] Lichens of British Columbia: rare species and priorities inventory. Res. Br., B.C. Min. For. and Hab. Protect.
Br., B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, Victoria, B.C. Work. Pap. 08/1996.
National Recovery Team for Heterodermia sitchensis (Seaside Centipede Lichen). 2007. [Internet] Recovery Strategy for Seaside
Centipede Lichen (Heterodermia sitchensis) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. vi + 19 pp.
Proulx, Gilbert et al. 2003. A Field Guide to Species at Risk in the Coast Forest Region of British Columbia. Published by International
Forest Products and BC Ministry of Environment. Victoria (BC).
Ways of Enlichenment. 2010. [Internet].


    Prepared by: Pamela Zevit of Adamah Consultants and Matt Fairbarns Aruncus Consulting for the South Coast Conservation Program (SCCP) in
    partnership with: International Forest Products (Interfor), Capacity Forestry (CapFor) and the BC Ministry of Environment (BC MoE), E-Flora and
    E-Fauna the Electronic Atlas of the Flora and Fauna of BC, Species at Risk & Local Government: A Primer for BC. Funding for this factsheet was
    made possible through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): http://www.sfiprogram.org/

    Every effort has been made to ensure content accuracy. Comments or corrections should be directed to the South Coast Conservation Program:
    info@sccp.ca. Content updated August 2010.

    Image Credits: Seaside centipede and close-up: Tim Wheeler, Dog bone lichen: Tim Wheeler, Habitat: Brian Reader Parks Canada, Lichen
    Anatomy graphic: Pamela Zevit modified from BJU press. Only images sourced from “creative commons” sources (e.g. Wikipedia, Flickr, U.S.
    Government) can be used without permission and for non-commercial purposes only. All other images have been contributed for use by the
    SCCP and its partners/funders only.




                               BC’s Coast Region: Species & Ecosystems of Conservation Concern                                                        4

				
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