Robert Lücking

German lichenologist

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Robert Lücking
Born 1964
Nationality German
Alma mater University of Ulm
Awards Mason E. Hale Award (1996); Augustin Pyramus de Candolle prize (2008); Tuckerman Award (2008, 2017)
Scientific career
Fields Lichenology
Institutions Field Museum of Natural History; Berlin Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum
Author abbrev. (botany) Lücking[1]

Robert Lücking (born 1964) is a German lichenologist. He earned his master’s and PhD from the University of Ulm, focusing on the taxonomy, ecology, and biodiversity of foliicolous lichens (lichens that live on leaves). He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Mason E. Hale Award for his doctoral thesis, the Augustin Pyramus de Candolle prize for his monograph, and the Tuckerman Award twice for his publications in the scientific journal The Bryologist. Since 2015, he has been serving as the curator of lichens, fungi, and bryophytes at the Berlin Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum. Several lichen species and a genus have been named in his honour.

Life and career[edit]

Lücking, born in Ulm (southern Germany) in 1964, completed his master’s degree in 1990 and his PhD in biology in 1994, both at the University of Ulm. Both of his degrees focused on the taxonomy, ecology, and biodiversity of foliicolous lichens, which are lichens that live on the surface of leaves.[2] His graduate supervisor was the mycologist and bryologist Sieghard Winkler, who had previously studied epiphyllous (upper leaf-dwelling) fungi in El Salvador and Colombia.[3]

In 1996, Lücking was awarded the Mason E. Hale award for an “outstanding doctoral thesis presented by a candidate on a lichenological theme”. His thesis was titled Foliikole Flechten und ihre Mikrohabitatpraferenzen in einem tropischen Regenwald in Costa Rica (“Foliicolous lichens and their microhabitat preferences in a tropical rainforest in Costa Rica”). In this work, Lücking recorded 177 foliicolous lichen species from the shrub layer in a Costa Rican tropical forest.[4] Lücking later won the 2008 Augustin Pyramus de Candolle prize for a monograph he published based on this work;[5] this award is given every four years by the Société de Physique et d’Histoire naturelle de Genève [fr] to “reward the author or -authors of the best monograph of a genus or family of plants”.[6] In this 866-page work, Lücking compiled the revised nomenclature, description, ecology and distribution, and specimen information for 616 species and 15 infrageneric taxa.[7] The monograph, estimated to cover descriptions of approximately 70% of the world’s known foliicolous lichens at that time, was favourably compared to and deemed a worthy successor of the seminal 1952 work on these lichens by Rolf Santesson.[8] Following the publication of this monograph, he was described by the Austrian lichenologist Martin Grube as “today’s leading expert on foliicolous lichens”.[7]

After a short-term assignment as a visiting professor in Recife, Brazil, he undertook a two-year post-doctoral stint in Ulm to further study foliicolous lichens. Lücking earned his habilitation from his studies (1998–2001) at the University of Bayreuth, under the supervision of Gerhard Rambold. In 2001, he was hired as adjunct curator at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, and was later promoted to research collections manager for mycology.[2] Lücking and co-authors have twice been bestowed with the Tuckerman Award from the American Bryological and Lichenological Society; this award is given to the most outstanding lichenological paper published each year in the scientific journal The Bryologist. The first (awarded in 2008) was for their publication about the Gomphillaceae in eastern North America,[9] while the second (awarded in 2017) was the highly cited “2016 classification of lichenized fungi in the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota”.[10] Since 1 July 2015, Lücking has been the curator of lichens, fungi, and bryophytes at the Berlin Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum, overseeing the management, curation, and digitisation of a collection that encompasses approximately one million species.[11] Other research interests of his include fungal evolution, systematics, and nomenclature.[12] He is a prolific author (or coauthor) of new fungal and lichen species, having formally described about 1000 of them as of December 2017.[13]

Lücking was the lead author of a 2020 study that documented the discovery and potential extinction of a new species of lichen, Cora timucua, identified through DNA analysis of museum specimens collected in Florida between 1885 and 1985. The research highlighted the critical endangerment of C. timucua, possibly extinct due to habitat loss, with its native pine scrub habitat largely replaced by urbanisation and agriculture. The study demonstrated the significance of digitised museum collections in uncovering previously misidentified species and emphasises the need to conserve remaining habitats to protect undiscovered or poorly understood lichen diversity.[14]

Lücking is serving or has served on the editorial boards of some scientific journals, including The Bryologist,[15] Mycosphere,[16] and The Lichenologist.[17]


Several lichen species have been named to honour Lücking. These include: Aspidothelium lueckingii Flakus (2009);[18] Byssoloma lueckingii Sérus. (1995);[19] Calenia lueckingii C.Hartmann (1996);[20] Chapsa lueckingii Kalb (2009);[21] Coenogonium lueckingii Y.Joshi, Gagarina, J.P.Halda & Hur (2015);[22] Dictyomeridium lueckingii Flakus & Aptroot (2016);[23] Enterographa lueckingii Kalb (2001); Graphis lueckingiana S.Joshi, Upreti & Hur (2018);[24] Graphis lueckingii Dal-Forno & Eliasaro (2010);[25] Hypotrachyna lueckingii Sipman (2011); Kalbographa lueckingii Kalb (2009);[26] Mazosia lueckingii Kr.P.Singh & Pinokiyo (2008);[27] Palicella lueckingii Rodr.Flakus (2018);[28] Pertusaria lueckingii Bungartz, A.W.Archer & Elix (2015);[29] Phlyctis lueckingii Weerakoon & Aptroot (2016);[30] Platygramme lueckingii Z.F.Jia & Kalb (2012);[31] and Thelotrema lueckingii Breuss (2013).[32] The genus Lueckingia Aptroot & Umaña (2008) is also named after him.[33]

Selected publications[edit]

Lücking is a highly published scientist, and has formally described hundreds of fungal and lichen species new to science. A few of his major or highly cited works include:

  • .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}Lücking, Robert; Buck, William R.; Plata, Eimy Rivas (2007). “The lichen family Gomphillaceae (Ostropales) in eastern North America, with notes on hyphophore development in Gomphillus and Gyalideopsis“. The Bryologist. 110 (4): 622–672. doi:10.1639/0007-2745(2007)110[622:tlfgoi];2.
  • Lücking, Robert; Lawrey, James D.; Sikaroodi, Masoumeh; Gillevet, Patrick M.; Chaves, José Luis; Sipman, Harrie J.M.; Bungartz, Frank (2009). “Do lichens domesticate photobionts like farmers domesticate crops? Evidence from a previously unrecognized lineage of filamentous cyanobacteria”. American Journal of Botany. 96 (8): 1409–1418. doi:10.3732/ajb.0800258.
  • Rivas Plata, Eimy; Lücking, Robert; Lumbsch, H. Thorsten (2011). “A new classification for the family Graphidaceae (Ascomycota: Lecanoromycetes: Ostropales)”. Fungal Diversity. 52 (1): 107–121. doi:10.1007/s13225-011-0135-8.
  • Lücking, Robert; Dal-Forno, Manuela; Sikaroodi, Masoumeh; Gillevet, Patrick M.; Bungartz, Frank; Moncada, Bibiana; et al. (2014). “A single macrolichen constitutes hundreds of unrecognized species”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111 (30): 11091–11096. doi:10.1073/pnas.1403517111. PMC 4121827. PMID 24982168.
  • Aptroot, André; Lücking, Robert (2016). “A revisionary synopsis of the Trypetheliaceae (Ascomycota: Trypetheliales)”. The Lichenologist. 48 (6): 763–982. doi:10.1017/s0024282916000487.
  • Lücking, Robert; Hodkinson, Brendan P.; Leavitt, Steven D. (2017). “The 2016 classification of lichenized fungi in the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota–Approaching one thousand genera”. The Bryologist. 119 (4): 361–416. doi:10.1639/0007-2745-119.4.361. JSTOR 44250015.
  • Hawksworth, David L.; Lücking, Robert (2017). “Fungal Diversity Revisited: 2.2 to 3.8 Million Species”. Microbiology Spectrum. 5 (4): 1–17. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.funk-0052-2016. PMID 28752818.
  • Lücking, Robert; Aime, M. Catherine; Robbertse, Barbara; Miller, Andrew N.; Ariyawansa, Hiran A.; Aoki, Takayuki; et al. (2020). “Unambiguous identification of fungi: where do we stand and how accurate and precise is fungal DNA barcoding?”. IMA Fungus. 11 (1): 14. doi:10.1186/s43008-020-00033-z. PMC 7353689. PMID 32714773.

See also[edit]


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  1. ^ “Lücking, Robert (fl. 1991)”. International Plant Names Index. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b Kärnefelt, Ingvar (2009). “Fifty influential lichenologists”. In Thell, Arne; Seaward, Mark R.D.; Feuerer, Tassilo (eds.). Diversity of Lichenology – Anniversary Volume. Bibliotheca Lichenologica. Vol. 100. Stuttgart: J. Kramer. p. 320. ISBN 978-3-443-58079-7.
  3. ^ “Lichenology – Past, Present and Future « Life Sciences# « Cambridge Core Blog”. Cambridge Core blog. 12 March 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  4. ^ Kärnefelt, E.I. “The presentation of the Mason E. Hale Award to Robert Lücking” (PDF). International Lichenological Newsletter. 29 (3): 60.
  5. ^ Clerc, Philippe (2008). “Eloge de Robert Lücking: Laureat 2008 du prix SPHN Augustin Pyramus de Candolle” (PDF). Archives des Sciences (in French). 61: 74.
  6. ^ Audard, Marc (24 August 2022). “Augustin-Pyramus de Candolle, SPHN”. Université de Genève (in French). Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  7. ^ a b Grube, Martin (2020). “Foliicolous Lichens”. The Bryologist. 113 (1): 224–226. JSTOR 40732280.
  8. ^ Kärnefelt, Ingvar; Seaward, Mark R.D.; Thell, Arne (2015). “Hans Runemark, pioneer lichen monographer” (PDF). International Lichenological Newsletter. 48 (1): 12–15.
  9. ^ “News from the Annual ABLS meeting”. The Bryologist. 111 (4): 688–689. 2008. doi:10.1639/0007-2745-111.4.688.
  10. ^ “News and Notes”. The Bryologist. 120 (3): 370. 2017. doi:10.1639/0007-2745-120.3.370.
  11. ^ Arup, Ulf, ed. (2015). “Personalia” (PDF). International Lichenological Newsletter. 48 (1): 25.
  12. ^ Hawksworth, David L. (2020). “MycoNews 2020: President’s message, news, reports, awards, personalia, book news, and correspondence”. IMA Fungus. 11 (1): 28. doi:10.1186/s43008-020-00049-5. PMC 7774014. PMID 33384025.
  13. ^ Lücking, Robert (2020). “Three challenges to contemporaneous taxonomy from a licheno-mycological perspective”. Megataxa. 1 (1): 78–103 [85]. doi:10.11646/megataxa.1.1.16.
  14. ^ Marchese, Alle (14 January 2021). “Rare lichen unique to Florida discovered in museum collections, may be extinct”. Retrieved 6 February 2024.
  15. ^ “Editorial Office”. BioOne Digital Library. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  16. ^ “Editors”. Mycosphere. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  17. ^ “Editorial board”. Cambridge Core. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  18. ^ Flakus, A. (2009). Aspidothelium lueckingii: a new lichenized fungus from Bolivia”. Nova Hedwigia. 88 (1–2): 139–143. doi:10.1127/0029-5035/2009/0088-0139.
  19. ^ Sérusiaux, E. (1995). “Further new lichen species producing campylidia or complex conidiomata”. Bibliotheca Lichenologica. 58: 411–431.
  20. ^ Hartmann, Claudia (1996). “Two new foliicolous species of Calenia (lichens, Gomphillaceae) from Costa Rica”. Mycotaxon. 59: 483–488.
  21. ^ Kalb, Klaus (2009). “New taxa and new records of thelotremoid Graphidaceae” (PDF). Herzogia. 22: 17–42 [25].
  22. ^ Joshi, Y.; Gagarina, L.; Halda, J.P.; Oh, S.-O.; Hur, J.-S. (2015). “A new species and a new record of the lichen genus Coenogonium (Ostropales: Coenogoniaceae) from South Korea, with a world-wide key to crustose Coenogonium having prothalli”. Mycosphere. 6 (6): 667–672. doi:10.5943/mycosphere/6/6/3.
  23. ^ Flakus, Adam; Kukwa, Martin; Aptroot, André (2016). “Trypetheliaceae of Bolivia: an updated checklist with descriptions of twenty-four new species”. The Lichenologist. 48 (6): 661–692. doi:10.1017/s0024282915000559.
  24. ^ Joshi, S.; Upreti, D.K.; Hur, J.S. (2018). “Graphis lueckingiana, a new species from Cameroon”. Korean Journal of Mycology. 46 (4): 491–494. doi:10.4489/KJM.20180053.
  25. ^ Dal-Forno, Manuela; Eliasaro, Sionara (2009). “Four new species of Graphis (Ostropales: Graphidaceae) from Brazil”. The Lichenologist. 42 (1): 77–81. doi:10.1017/s002428290999034x.
  26. ^ Kalb, K.; Buaruang, K.; Papong, K.; Boonpragob, K. (2009). “New or otherwise interesting lichens from the tropics, including the lichen genus Ramboldia in Thailand”. Mycotaxon. 110 (1): 109–123. doi:10.5248/110.109.
  27. ^ Singh, Krishna Pal; Pinokiyo, Athokpam (2008). “New taxa of foliicolous lichens from eastern India”. The Lichenologist. 40 (1): 23–29. doi:10.1017/s0024282908006889.
  28. ^ Rodriguez-Flakus, P. (2018). “Palicella lueckingii (Lecanorales, Ascomycota), a new lichen species inhabiting Araucaria from the extratropical South America”. Phytotaxa. 344 (1): 24–30. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.344.1.3.
  29. ^ Bungartz, Frank; Elix, John A.; Yánez-Ayabaca, Alba; Archer, Alan W. (2015). “Endemism in the genus Pertusaria (Pertusariales, lichenized Ascomycota) from the Galapagos Islands”. Telopea. 18: 325–369. doi:10.7751/telopea8895.
  30. ^ Weerakoon, Gothamie; Wolseley, Patricia A.; Arachchige, Omal; Eugenia da Silva Cáceres, Marcela; Jayalal, Udeni; Aptroot, André (2016). “Eight new lichen species and 88 new records from Sri Lanka”. The Bryologist. 119 (2): 131–142. doi:10.1639/0007-2745-119.2.131.
  31. ^ Jia, Ze-Feng; Kalb, Klaus (2013). “Taxonomical studies on the lichen genus Platygramme (Graphidaceae) in China” (PDF). The Lichenologist. 45 (2): 145–151. doi:10.1017/s0024282912000709. ISSN 0024-2829.
  32. ^ Breuss, O. (2013). Byssoloma laurisilvae und Thelotrema lueckingii, zwei neue Flechtenarten aus Madeira” (PDF). Österreichische Zeitschrift für Pilzkunde (in German). 22: 99–105.
  33. ^ Aptroot, A.; Umaña, L.; Chaves, J.L.; Trest, M.T. (2006). “A first assessment of the Ticolichen biodiversity inventory in Costa Rica: three new squamulose genera (Lecanorales: Ramalinaceae and Pilocarpaceae)”. Journal of the Hattori Botanical Laboratory. 100: 617–624.


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