International Association for Lichenology

Irwin M. Brodo

Irwin M. Brodo

Last but no means least, as Brian Coppins said when he introduced Peter James two years ago, which is indeed also true for this fourth candidate. Born in the US 1935, a New Yorker he, studied at Columbia University and Cornell University in Ithaca, where he received his masters degree. He then went on to Michigan State University in 1959 to work on a Ph.D. in lichenology with Henry Imshaug. It is probably clear to most of you that I am talking about Ernie Brodo or Irwin M. Brodo, as official letters are usually signed. Since 1965 Ernie has been employed at the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa as curator of the lichen collections, which he indeed has kept very well, having worked there and seen the well-organized collections myself in the summer of 1976.

Ernie has a very broad knowledge of lichenology and he has published extensively on various fields such as lichen chemistry, systematics, air pollution and more popular articles on general lichenology. Some of his publications are well known in the lichenological literature: his printed doctoral thesis The Lichens of Long Island, New York, a vegetational and floristic analysis from 1968; Alectoria and allied genera in North America from 1977 together with David Hawksworth and a splendid monographic treatment of the alectorioid lichens and something of a model for many modern monographic treatments to be published in years to come; Lichens of the Ottawa Region published in two editions 1981 and 1988 and papers like The North American species of the Lecanora subfusca group published in 1984.

Apart from scientific papers, Ernie also had time to publish numerous editorial notes during the exciting time when the IAL Newsletter started from 1967 through 1981, first as co-editor until 1975 and then as editor for a second term until Martin Dibben took over the editorship after the Sidney Congress.

His main interest, however, falls within the field of floristics and systematics of Canadian lichens, where he has published on many difficult groups such as Coccotrema, Ochrolechia, Rhizocarpon and Haematomma. In connection with this interest, he has also distributed his Lichenes Canadenses Exsiccati in several fascicles attached by very detailed publications. Ernie once told me that he could travel almost anywhere with support of the government, but only in Canada. But Canada is a large country, mainly covered by taiga and arctic tundra rich in lichen communities. His lichenological Shangri La is located there on the Pacific West coast, in the remote archipelago of the Queen Charlotte Islands. There he has found most of his exciting discoveries hidden in dense coniferous forests and soaked by oceanic mists.

On every occasion I have met with Ernie I have heard about this place, always. In 1972, when I first met him, he proudly showed his Queen Charlotte room all filled with specimens and collections from floor to ceiling. Now, after his recent sabbatical in Finland and Sweden, we all hope to see this work, to which he has devoted so much of his time over more than two decades, completed. I know, however, that another more time-consuming project, a field guide of North American lichens, has slipped through in his tight agenda. This will, of course, also be a welcome book.

Ernie Brodo is congratulated by the IAL council for what he has achieved on the systematics of lichens on the North American continent.

Ingvar Kärnefelt (19 August 1994)