Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Wesley C. Whiteside


Extensive collections were made on the central ridge system at Fox Ridge State Park in Coles County, Illinois. A literature review of the works on the genus Cladonia in North America encompassed major taxonomic collections undertaken in the last 20 years. Also, a historical account on the developments in the Cladonia chlorophaea complex are listed. Basic Cladonia morphology is described, including both microscopic and macroscopic illustrations. The study area was subdivided on a grid system, enabling the collection sites to be numbered. The entire area was covered in two foot intervals. From every entity that was found, ¼ of it was collected and identified. From this study, a key to the Cladonia squamules of the area was compiled.

A total of 19 species from the genus Cladonia were collected from the central portion of Fox Ridge. The location of each of the 3562 entities was plotted on a topographic distribution map of the area. The collections were made from 92 collection sites, and the data for total numbers for each species was tabulated to correspond with these collection sites. Five Cladonia species appeared common to the area. Five very rare species for the area were recorded. The relative abundance was determined for each species. An estimation of ground cover for each species was calculated from the collection data.

The eight soil types that occurred at Fox Ridge, and the five series to which they belonged, were described in detail. A correlation was made between the occurrence of Cladonias and the soil types, using a distribution map for the genus with soil type zones delimited. This map illustrated a very high correlation of Cladonia occurrence in one particular soil type, Strawn Silt Loam (224G2). Different possible explanations were offered as to the reason for this high correlation.

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