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Dr Alan W. Archer

Honorary Research Associate

Research Interests

Chemotaxonomy of the lichen genus Pertusaria.

The lichen pictured above is Pertusaria thiospoda C. Knight

This lichen species was first described in 1882 by an amateur botanist, Charles Knight, who was also the Auditor General of New Zealand. It was collected "in the region of Sydney".

The name thiospoda is from the Greek, thio, sulphur and spoda, from the Greek spodos, ash, a reference to the greyish yellow colour of the lichen.

The lichen gives a bright yellow fluorescence under long wave-length UV light. This is due to the presence of a xanthone, thiophaninic acid which is also responsible for the yellow colour of the lichen.

The species is predominantly coastal, growing on bark, and occurs in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania; it is also found further east on Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, the Cook Islands and recently on the Galapagos Islands.

Current Projects

A Preliminary World-wide Key to the Lichen Genus Pertusaria

We aim to provide an up-to-date, world-wide key to the genus Pertusaria for the use of lichen taxonomists.

Information is to be provided on the taxonomy and chemistry of known species.

The project began 2-3 years ago and the key will again be available to users soon. The project is continuous, as new species and corrections will be added as they become known.

Researchers: Dr. A.W. Archer, Professor J.A. Elix (ANU)