Dr Rebecca Yahr
Dr Rebecca Yahr, Lichenologist
Becky is the Lichen Biodiversity Scientist at RBGE, responsible for research about lichens from an evolutionary perspective. My research aims to understand the diversity of lichens using a wide range of tools from inventory and biogeography, to population genetics and the structure of symbiotic relationships. I also teach lichen biology and species interactions at the graduate level and lichen identification for the public.
Becky’s research aims to:
- Explore the lichen diversity of Scotland, especially areas of high conservation significance,
- Untangle taxonomic problems in ecologically important and conservation priority species, and
- Understand the processes driving symbiotic partnerships in lichens.
Dr Rebecca Yahr
McCune, B.,Di Meglio, E., Tønsberg, T. and Yahr, R. (2019) Five new crustose Stereocaulon species in western North America. The Bryologist 122: 197-218.
Corsie, E. I., Harrold, P., and Yahr, R. (2019) No combination of morphological, ecological or chemical characters can reliably diagnose species in the Parmelia saxatilis aggregate in Scotland. The Lichenologist 51:107-212.
Steinová, J., Skaloud, P., Yahr, R., Bestová, H., Muggia, L. (2019) Reproductive and dispersal strategies shape the diversity of mycobiont-photobiont association in lichen symbioses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 134: 226-237.
Eaton, S., Ellis, C., Genney, D., Thompson, R., Yahr, R. and Haydon, D.T. (2018) Adding small species to the big picture: Species distribution modelling in an age of landscape scale conservation. Biological Conservation, 217: 251-258.
Ellis, C.J., Yahr, R., and Coppins, B. J. (2018) Quantifying the anthropocene loss of bioindicators for an early industrial region: an equitable baseline for biodiversity restoration. Biodiversity and Conservation 27 (9), 2363-2377.
Belinchon, R., Ellis, C.J., and Yahr, R. (2018) Climate-woodland effects on population genetics for two congeneric lichens with contrasting reproductive strategies. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 94 (11), fiy159.
Eaton, S., Zúñiga, C., Czyzewski, J., Ellis, C., Genney, D.R., Haydon, D., Mirzai, N. and Yahr, R. (2017) A method for the direct detection of airborne dispersal in lichens. Molecular Ecology Resources.
Belinchon, R., Coppins, B.J., Yahr, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2016) The diversity and community dynamics of hazelwood lichens and bryophytes along a major gradient of human impact. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 9: 359-370.
Svensson, M., Caruso, A., Yahr, R., Ellis, C., Thor, G. & Snäll, T. (2016) Combined observational and experimental data provide limited support for facilitation in lichens. Oikos, 125: 278-283.
Yahr, R., Schoch, C. L., Dentinger, B. T. M. (2016) Scaling up discovery of hidden diversity in fungi: impacts of barcoding approaches. Philosohpical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. 371 (1702), 20150336
Divakar, P. K., Crespo, A., Wedin, M., Leavitt, S. D., Hawksworth, … Lumbsch, H. T. (2015) Evolution of complex symbiotic relationships in a morphologically derived family of lichen-forming fungi. New Phytologist 208:1217-1226. DOI: 10.1111/nph.13553
Yahr, R., Florence, A., Škaloud, P. & Voytsekhovich, A. (2015) Molecular and morphological diversity in photobionts associated with Micarea s. str. (Lecanorales, Ascomycota). The Lichenologist 47: 403-414.
Yahr, R. (2015) The status of the conservation priority species Calicium corynellum in the British Isles. Lichenologist, 47: 205-214.
Belinchon, R., Yahr, R. & Ellis, C.J. (2014) Interactions among species with contrasting dispersal modes explain distributions for epiphytic lichens. Ecography, 38: 762-768.
Belinchon, R., Ellis, C.J. & Yahr, R. (2014) Microsatellite loci in two epiphytic lichens with contrasting dispersal modes: Nephroma laevigatum and N. parile (Nephromataceae). Applications in Plant Science, 11: 1400080.
Ellis, C.J., Yahr, R., Belinchón, R. & Coppins, B.J. (2014) Archaeobotanical evidence for climate as a driver of ecological community change across the anthropocene boundary. Global Change Biology, 20: 2211-2220.
Yahr, R., Coppins, B.J., Ellis, C.J. (2014) Quantifying the loss of lichen epiphyte diversity from the pre-industrial Exmoor landscape (south-west England). Lichenologist, 46: 711-721.
Yahr, R., Coppins, B.J., Coppins, A.M. (2013) Transient population dynamics in the conservation priority species, Cladonia botrytes. Lichenologist, 45: 265-276.
Truong, C., Divakar, P.K., Yahr, R., Crespo, A. & Clerc, P. 2013. Testing the use of ITS rDNA and protein-coding genes in the generic and species delimitation of the lichen genus Usnea (Parmeliaceae, Ascomycota): Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68: 357-372.
Weekley, C.W., Menges, E.S., Craddock, A.L., & Yahr, R., 2013. Logging as a pre-treatment or surrogate for fire in restoring Florida scrub. Castanea 78: 15-27.
Schoch, C.L., Seifert, K.A., Huhndorf, S., Robert. V., Spouge, J.L., Levesque, C.A., … and Fungal Barcoding Consortium. (2012) Nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region as a universal DNA barcode marker for Fungi. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 109: 6241-6246.
Ellis, C.J., Yahr, R. and Coppins, B.J. (2011) Archaeobotanical evidence for a massive loss of epiphyte species richness during industrialisation in southern England. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 3482-3489.
Kelly, L.J., Hollingsworth, P.M., Coppins, B.J., Ellis, C.J., Harrold, P., Tosh, J. & R Yahr. (2011) DNA barcoding of lichenized fungi demonstrates high identification success in a floristic context. New Phytologist 191: 288-300.
Yahr, R., Coppins, B.J. & Ellis, C.J. (2011) Preserved epiphytes as an archaeological resource in post-medieval vernacular buildings. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 1191-1198.
Lumbsch, H.T., Ahti, T., Altermann, S., Amo De Paz, G., Aptroot, A., Arup, U., …& Lücking, R. (2011) One hundred new species of lichenized fungi: a signature of undiscovered global diversity. Phytotaxa 18: 1–127.
Menges, E.S., Pickertt, R., Dolan, R.W., Yahr, R. & Gordon, D.R. (2010) Does current or past landscape structure predict genetic variation: an analysis using six Florida scrub endemic plants. International Journal of Ecology. doi:10.1155/2010/503759.
Ellis, C.J., R Yahr, and BJ Coppins. (2009) Local extent of old-growth woodland modifies epiphyte response to climate change. Journal of Biogeography 36: 302-313.
Schoch, C.L., Sung, G-H., Lopez-Giraldez, F., Townsend, J.P., Miadlikowska, J., Hofstetter, V. … & Spatafora, J.W. (2009) The Ascomycota Tree of Life: A phylum-wide phylogeny clarifies the origin and evolution of fundamental reproductive and ecological traits. Systematic Biology 58: 224-239
Yahr, R., R Vilgalys, and PT DePriest. (2006) Geographic variation in algal partners of Cladonia subtenuis (Cladoniaceae) highlights the dynamic nature of a lichen symbiosis. New Phytologist 171: 847-860.
Miadlikowska J, F Kauff, V Hofstetter, E Fraker, V Reeb, M Grube, … and F Lutzoni. (2006) New insights into classification and evolution of the Lecanoromycetes (Pezizomycotina, Ascomycota) from phylogenetic analyses of three ribosomal RNA- and two protein-coding genes. Mycologia 98: 1088-1103.
James TY, F Kauff, CL Schoch, PB Matheny, V Hofstetter, CJ Cox, … and R Vilgalys.( 2006) Reconstructing the early evolution of Fungi using a six-gene phylogeny. Nature 443: 818-822.
Lendemer JC & Yahr, R. (2005) Changes and additions to the checklist of North American lichens – II. Mycotaxon 90: 319-322.
Yahr, R., Vilgalys, R., & DePriest, P.T. (2004) Strong symbiont specificity and selectivity in Florida scrub lichens. Molecular Ecology 13: 3367-3378. Cover article.
Dolan, R.W., Menges, E.S. & Yahr ,R. (2004) Genetic variation in Nolina brittoniana, a plant endemic to the central ridges of Florida. Southeastern Naturalist 3: 25-36.
Lutzoni, F., Kauff, F., Cox, C.J., McLaughlin, D., Celio, D., Dentinger, B… and Vilgalys, R. (2004) Assembling the fungal tree of life: progress, classification and evolution of subcellular traits. American Journal of Botany 91: 1446-1480.
Menges, E.S., Dolan, R.W., Yahr, R., & Gordon, D. R. (2001) Comparative genetics of seven plants endemic to Florida's Lake Wales Ridge. Castanea 66: 98-114.
Yahr, R. (2000) Ecology and post-fire recovery of Cladonia perforata, an endangered Florida-scrub lichen. Forest, Snow and Landscape Research 75: 339-356.
Yahr, R., Menges, E.M., & Berry, D.M. (2000) Effects of drainage, fire-suppression, and time-since-fire on endemic cutthroat communities in Central Florida. Natural Areas Journal 20: 3-11.
Dolan, R.W., Yahr, R., Menges, E.S. & Halfhill, M.D. (1999) Conservation implications of genetic variation in three rare species endemic to Florida rosemary scrub. American Journal of Botany 86: 1556-1562.
Menges, E.S., McIntyre, P.J., Finer, M.S., Goss, E. & Yahr, R. (1999) Microhabitat of the narrow Florida scrub endemic, Dicerandra christmanii, with comparisons to its congener D. frutescens. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Club 126: 24-31.
Ellis CJ and R Yahr. 2011. An interdisciplinary review of climate change trends and uncertainties: lichen biodiversity, arctic-alpine ecosystems and habitat loss. In: Hodkinson, T.R., Jones, M.B., Waldren, S. & Parnell, J.A.N. (eds) Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics: 457-489. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Yahr R and PT DePriest. 2005. Ecology, life-history, and conservation of the endangered lichen Cladonia perforata. In: “Plant Conservation: A Natural History Approach”, ed. Krupnick, G, and J Kress.
Grants and Awards
2018 Friends of RBGE, Expanding interpretation in the regional gardens: Lichen Safari at Logan, £1920
2017 Sibbald Trust, Expanding interpretation in the regional gardens: Lichen Safari at Benmore, £4482.
2016 British Lichen Society, Travel Grant, £395
2016 Friends of RBGE, The Wee World of Lichens Trail, £2965
2013 Sibbald Trust, Bringing the curation of British Basidiomycetes into the 21st Century. £7,433.
2012 Scottish Natural Heritage, Taxonomic status of the BAP species Calicium corynellum, £5000.
2007 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Monitoring BAP lichens in the Cairngorm Mountains, £4000.
2005 National Science Foundation, Linking patterns of symbiotic association to ecological and evolutionary processes in lichen fungi and their algal symbionts, $147,000.
2002 American Bryological and Lichenological Society. AJ Sharp Award, $500.
2000 US Fish and Wildlife Service, In the wake of Hurricane Opal: Experimental restoration of the endangered lichen Cladonia perforata at Eglin Air Force Base, $20,000.
2000 American Bryological and Lichenological Society, Honorable Mention, AJ Sharp Award , Post-fire recovery of terrestrial lichens in Florida scrub, with emphasis on Cladonia perforata.
1996 US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecology and post-fire recovery of Cladonia perforata Evans, an endangered Florida Scrub lichen, $15,400.
1995 Florida’s Division of Forestry, Plant Conservation Program, Post-hurricane reintroduction and recolonization of Cladonia perforata at Eglin Air Force Base, $4967.
1994 University of California College of Letters and Science, Outstanding Student Award.
1994 Botanical Society of America, Young Botanist Award.
Service to Science
Editorial board of The Lichenologist (2010-present), Edinburgh Journal of Botany (2010-present) and Guest Editor Journal of Phycology (2011).
Vice President, British Lichen Society (2018-2020); British Mycological Society (2010-present).
IUCN Species Specialist Group on Lichens; Plantlife Link Scotland.
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