Cryptothecia fuscopunctata (Common Name: Brown Speckled Carpet Lichen) is endemic to the Everglades, an extensive tropical wetland system in southeastern North America where it is imperiled by sea-level rise and other forces.
Cryptothecia fuscopunctata is narrowly restricted to the Everglades of southern Florida, an expansive tropical wetland system in southeastern North America.
Demographic studies are needed to assess and monitor populations sizes. Our current knowledge of the species suggests that its populations are stable.
This species occurs in a portion of the Everglades that as a more temperate biota compared to other areas of the wetland system. It occurs on the bark of trees, particularly in mangrove (Conocarpus erectus L.) hammock forests.
All known populations occur a region where there has been extensive conversion and alteration of habitats historically, particularly in nearby uplands which include densely populated urban and suburban centers. Although the known populations occur within a large national park the entire region is imperiled by sea-level rise and other habitat shifts related to sea-level rise. Additional potential threats to this species include pollution and invasive plants that may displace the existing native vegetation on which it occurs.
There are many conservation actions that can be taken including, educating and training land managers and local botanists to identify the species so we can monitor its health, federally listing the species as endangered in the United States, improving air quality regulation, and monitoring changes associated with sea-level rise. Policy and legislation considering biodiversity threatened by sea-level rise is also needed.
Further research that will aid in the conservation of this species includes population assessments and monitoring, population genetics studies, and ecological studies that incorporate threats to the species. Additionally, a species recovery plan needs to be written.
Seavey, F. & J. Seavey. 2014. Four new species and sixteen new lichen records for North America from Everglades National Park. The Bryologist, 117(4):395-404.