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San Bruno Mountain Ridge lichens

January 12 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Lichens are all around us and they have fascinating stories to tell those who listen. Lichens are beautiful, play critical roles in ecosystems, and can act as sensitive environmental indicators because they respond to fine scale ecological conditions. San Bruno Mountain is a particularly interesting destination for lichen explorers; it is an urban conservation success story with significant biodiversity of many taxonomic groups. It has an unusually diverse assortment of lichens, particularly for an urban area, in part because it is high enough above the city that it receives little ambient air pollution, which generally reduces lichen diversity. San Bruno Mountain has particularly high diversity of cyanolichens–lichens with a cyanobacterial partner that are generally especially sensitive to air pollution and play important ecological roles as nitrogen fixers. Participants will learn to identify many common Bay Area lichens to genus, as well as some uncommon cyanolichens such as Lobaria scrobiculata, Sticta spp., Nephroma sp., and Collema sp.  This hike is about 2 miles round-trip (or farther for those who want a longer walk), mostly easy walking on a wide trail and a road with a few steep sections.

Jesse Miller has spent many years working as a botanist and lichenologist across California and the Pacific Northwest. He is currently a lecturer at Stanford, where he teaches ecology. His research interests include studying the effects of global change factors such as altered fire regimes on lichen and plant communities. Jesse loves sharing his passion for the natural world with others and enjoys contributing to Northern California’s growing community of lichen enthusiasts. Website:

Meet at the Summit parking lot, San Bruno Mountain County Park

Entrance fee: $6 to enter park; walk is free, but the instructor will accept donations to support local lichen research. Questions? Email Jesse at



January 12
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


San Bruno Mountain Summit Trail
pin 555 Guadalupe Canyon Pkwy
Brisbane, CA 94005-1253 United States
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Yerba Buena