Species Profile

Flooded Jellyskin

Scientific Name: Leptogium rivulare
Other/Previous Names: Flooded Jellyskin Lichen
Taxonomy Group: Lichens
Range: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2015
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Flooded Jellyskin

Flooded Jellyskin Photo 1
Flooded Jellyskin Photo 2

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Description

The Flooded Jellyskin (Leptogium rivulare) is a small, grey or bluish-grey (when dry) leafy lichen, the surface of which becomes jelly-like when wet. Thalli are up to 4 cm in diameter and on the upper surface there are numerous reddish-brown fruiting bodies (apothecia). The Flooded Jellyskin is a “cyanolichen,” in which the photosynthetic partner is a cyanobacterium in the genus Nostoc. Cyanolichens have been shown to contribute significant amounts of nitrogen to the ecosystems in which they occur. The Flooded Jellyskin is also special in that it is one of only a few macrolichens that can tolerate seasonal flooding by fresh water. (Updated 2016/12/19)

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Distribution and Population

The Flooded Jellyskin is a globally rare boreal-temperate lichen found in glaciated portions of eastern North America and eastern, central and western Europe. It is found mainly between the 45°N and 60°N parallels. In the USA, the Flooded Jellyskin was found historically as far south as Illinois and Vermont (possibly in glacial refugia) but there is only one recent record from central Wisconsin. In Canada, three subpopulations of Flooded Jellyskin have been identified. The Ontario Lowlands subpopulation is the largest, and mostly confined to forested vernal pools. The Southern Shield subpopulation is the next largest along the southern limits of the Precambrian Shield near the interface with the Paleozoic Lowlands of Ontario and Quebec, with outliers in Wawa and Temagami. The post-glacial Lake Agassiz basin subpopulation is widely scattered in the boreal forest ecoregion of northern Ontario and Manitoba. A cluster of occurrences exists near Flin Flon, Manitoba, representing the most northerly (55°N) site of the Flooded Jellyskin in Canada. (Updated 2016/12/19)

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Habitat

In Canada, the Flooded Jellyskin requires a humid habitat that is both calcareous and subject to seasonal flooding. The Ontario Lowlands subpopulation is mostly confined to forested vernal pools. The Southern Shield subpopulation is also found in seasonally flooded swamps and pools along the southern limits of the Precambrian Shield near the interface with the Paleozoic Lowlands. The post-glacial Lake Agassiz basin subpopulation is small and widely scattered in northern Ontario and Manitoba where it colonizes exposed bedrock, or large boulders along flooded lake shorelines in areas that overlie calcareous bedrock or on the margins of seasonally flooded rivers or lakes that have deposits of calcareous materials. For the Flooded Jellyskin to thrive, the water has to have a low sediment load, there needs to be a suitable substratum (tree, shrub or rock) and appropriate temperatures. The Flooded Jellyskin is most often recorded on Ash trees and less frequently on Maple, Elm and Willow. Partial shade provided by trees and tall shrubs appears to be important for maintaining high humidity and a moderate temperature during summer months. Full shade is not generally tolerated by this lichen. The limited dispersal ability of the Flooded Jellyskin likely restricts its occurrence and abundance. (Updated 2016/12/19)

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Biology

Abundant apothecia are normally produced, and sexual reproduction is important in maintaining Flooded Jellyskin. Dispersal is achieved passively by the wind-borne spores, possibly aided by water currents. No specialized vegetative organs are produced, though presumably vegetative fragmentation may occur at smaller spatial scales. Dispersal in the species is likely limited by the required habitat conditions, which are not common on the landscape, and by the fact that the germinating spores require a substratum of suitable pH, temperature, light, and moisture as well as the presence of compatible cyanobacteria that enable the re-establishment of the fungal-algal symbiosis. Biotic vectors such as birds or mammals may be an infrequent or potential means of dispersal. (Updated 2016/12/19)

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Threats

The impact of the threats to the survival of the Flooded Jellyskin were assessed as “high” using the COSEWIC Threats Assessment Calculator. Since COSEWIC’s last assessment of this lichen in 2004, the severity and scope of the threats have changed. Currently, the most important threat to this lichen is the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, which kills all native ash trees and is spreading rapidly both in Ontario and Quebec. Ash trees are important hosts for a significant portion of the Canadian range of the Flooded Jellyskin. Indeed, 99% of the known thalli are associated with plant communities where Ash is present. Twenty of the 76 known occurrences (roughly one quarter of the Canadian population) are in habitat dominated by ash, and another seven occurrences have ash recorded as a co-dominant host tree. Given the known rates of the spread of Emerald Ash Borer, the southern Flooded Jellyskin occurrences in Ontario and Quebec are likely to be affected within the next 10-20 years. Elm is another important substratum for the Flooded Jellyskin in central Ontario occurrences and Dutch Elm Disease is also continuing to kill trees in the province. Another important threat is climate change, which may alter seasonal flooding in vernal pools and along water courses where flooding promotes the lichen and the establishment of its preferred host trees and shrubs. About 80% of Flooded Jellyskin occurrences are associated with seasonal vernal pool habitat, which is expected to become drier and less frequent. The limited dispersal abilities of the Flooded Jellyskin also increases its vulnerability to climate change, as many of its occurrences are small and isolated in remnant forest patches with vernal pools. Dams pose another threat to this lichen as they alter flooding regimes along rivers. Changes to hydrology may alter or eliminate Flooded Jellyskin habitat. Other activities such as forestry, mining, quarries, and urban development that alter watercourses, water quality or the protective vegetation surrounding Flooded Jellyskin sites also have the potential to degrade habitat by exposing individuals to increased solar radiation and wind, thus reducing humidity and increasing erosion and water turbidity. (Updated 2016/12/19)

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Protection

Federal Protection

More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Flooded Jellyskin Lichen (Leptogium rivulare) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to Date One known site of the Flooded Jellyskin is on public land and receives some protection. The Manitoba Conservation Data Centre will be incorporating information on the single known Manitoba occurrence of the Flooded Jellyskin in its Biotics database. This database is used to conserve species at risk and those of conservation concern in a variety of ways including environmental impact reviews, protected area planning, and setting new inventory priorities. URLs Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk: Flooded Jellyskin:http://www.rom.on.ca/ontario/risk.php?doc_type=fact&id=301

Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

11 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the flooded jellyskin Leptogium rivulare in Canada (2016)

    The Flooded Jellyskin (Leptogium rivulare) is a small, grey or bluish-grey (when dry) leafy lichen, the surface of which becomes jelly-like when wet. Thalli are up to 4 cm in diameter and on the upper surface there are numerous reddish-brown fruiting bodies (apothecia). The Flooded Jellyskin is a "cyanolichen," in which the photosynthetic partner is a cyanobacterium in the genus Nostoc. Cyanolichens have been shown to contribute significant amounts of nitrogen to the ecosystems in which they occur. The Flooded Jellyskin is also special in that it is one of only a few macrolichens that can tolerate seasonal flooding by fresh water.

COSEWIC Assessments

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Flooded Jellyskin (2004)

    This is a globally rare species currently known in Canada from only 4 locations, all in Ontario and Manitoba. The species has very restricted habitat requirements, found primarily at the margins of seasonal (vernal) pools, where it grows on rocks and at the base of living deciduous trees between the seasonal high and low water marks. It is vulnerable to changes in normal patterns of annual flooding, as well as to death of host trees. Major threats to the largest populations include urban development and recreational activity.
  • Response Statement - Flooded Jellyskin (2017)

    Since this lichen was last assessed in 2004, increased search effort and a better understanding of its habitat requirements have revealed new occurrences in Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec and the minimum number of mature individuals is now estimated at 350,000. Canada is thus the stronghold for this species which has declined or disappeared from elsewhere in its global range. Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat killing ash trees that are an important host species for this lichen where it is most abundant in southern Ontario. Up to 50% of the population may be affected within the next few decades. Another threat is climate change which is expected to create drier conditions that will reduce seasonal flooding which this lichen requires to survive. It also needs calcareous enrichment, and as a result has an even more patchy distribution in the inaccessible boreal regions of Manitoba and Ontario where the number of individuals is lower but not accurately known. The predicted impact of these two threats on this lichen results in the recommended status of Special Concern.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Flooded Jellyskin Lichen (Leptogium rivulare) in Canada (2013)

    The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species. The Flooded Jellyskin was listed as threatened under SARA in July 2005. Environment Canada led the development of this recovery strategy. This recovery strategy was prepared in cooperation with the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (2005)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2015-2016 (2016)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 25 wildlife species; of these, the majority (68%) were re-assessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 45 species assessed, seven were assigned a status of Not at Risk (two re-assessments and five new assessments). To date, and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 724 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 320 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 209 Special Concern, and 23 Extirpated (i.e., no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 15 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 54 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 177 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species - January 2017 (2017)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk. In 2016, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, the Governor in Council approved listing proposals for 44 wildlife species. It is proposed that 23 species be added to Schedule 1, 18 be reclassified or have a change made to how they are defined (two wildlife species are being split into four), one species  be removed from Schedule 1, and another two species not be added. Listing proposals were published in Canada Gazette, part I for a 30-day public comment period and final listing decisions for all 44 species are expected in the first half of 2017.Please submit your comments byMay 11, 2017, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultationsand byOctober 11, 2017, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:Species at Risk Public Registry website The COSEWIC Summaries of Terrestrial Species Eligible for Addition or Reclassification on Schedule 1 - January 2017