Lichens occur in virtually all ecosystems, where they play an important role in water and nutrient cycles and in the vegetation succession on soil, rock, and bark surfaces. This project is the first inventory of tropical lichens on a continental scale, focusing on small epiphytic lichens. The inventory is expected to document approximately 3,000 species in 160 genera and 30 families.

The collections made during this project document the diversity of lichens occurring in the Neotropics. It is anticipated that the project will amass over 300,000 new collections, with duplicates here at The Field Museum, and also at collaborating institutes across Latin America. In our EMu database, collections can be searched in the catalog either by taxonomy (any rank down to family, genus, species, infraspecies) and eventually geographic area (country, site name).