CATO Sites

Catoctin Mountain Park

Permanent Lichen Biomonitoring Sites in CATO

The Catoctin Mountain Park is 5,810 acres of hardwood forest lying within the Blue Ridge Mountain Province. Extensively logged in the 18th and 19th centuries, the area has steadily recovered since it was originally set aside in 1933. It became a National Park in 1954 when the Catoctin Project created the Cunningham Falls State Park and the Catoctin National Park. The Catoctin forest is a mid-latitude deciduous forest dominated generally by oak-hickory-tulip poplar stands, with mixed oaks on drier ridge tops and floodplain species such as elms, birches and sycamore near streams. The western portion of the park has deeper, richer, and moister soils that support sugar maple, basswood, hickories, hornbeam, white ash, beech, and tulip poplar. Lichens are found commonly throughout the Park on tree bark, rocks and soil surfaces.

CATO sites

In 2004, 25 permanent lichen biomonitoring sites were located in 1 km2 grids within the park, and a baseline sampling for lichen floristic and elemental data was done. At each location, abundance of tree-inhabiting macrolichens was recorded and  a specimen of the common lichen Flavoparmelia caperata was collected for elemental analysis.

Links are available to the CATO lichen species and CATO element data collected at each sampling location. Comparative summary data for all sites in the NCR are also available.

CATO lichens

Corticolous macrolichen communities in CATO are typical of the northern Blue Ridge Mountains. Dominant species include Flavoparmelia caperata (the species used in elemental analysis), Punctelia rudecta, P. subrudecta, Myelochroa aurulenta, Physcia millegrana, and Phaeophyscia rubropulchra (especially at tree bases). None of these species is especially sensitive to air pollution; of the species identified in the study, the cyanolichens Leptogium cyanescens and Collema furfuraceum are most sensitive to pollution. Species not commonly found elsewhere in NCR parks are Flavopunctelia soredica, a western species found in western Maryland,and Allocetraria oakesiana, a northeastern species found at high elevations in western Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

CATO elements

Element concentrations in samples of F. caperata collected in CATO are similar to those of other NCR parks (except PRWI). There are published studies (using Flavoparmelia baltimorensis as the test species) suggesting increases in S concentration with elevation (Lawrey and Hale 1988), but this does not seem to be the case in CATO.

CATO maps available from NPS

NCR Lichens Home


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