Dr. Henry Imshaug, who died in November 2010, was the curator of the Michigan State University Cryptogamic Herbarium from 1958 until he retired in 1990. During that time he was responsible for the growth of the collection from around 40,000 specimens to its present size of 114,000 accessioned specimens. The majority of these additional 75,000 specimens were Henry’s own collections.
His early collecting was done mainly in western North America and the Great Lakes Region, but in 1952-53 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study the lichens of the West Indies that resulted in 15,000 collections from numerous islands. After this Henry’s area of interest moved further south to the Subantarctic Region, which was the focus of field work between 1965 and 1971. In South America he collected from the Juan Fernandez Islands (1,624 collections), the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) (2,738 collections), the Brunswick Peninsula and the Straights of Magellan in southern Chile (4,013 collections), and Tierra del Fuego (2,193 collections) and Isla de los Estados (Staten Island) (3,554 collections) in southern Argentina. In Australasia he collected from South Island, New Zealand (2,319 collections), the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands, Campbell Island (2,998 collections) and the Auckland Islands (1,636 collections) as well as Kerguelen Island in the southern Indian Ocean (1,893 collections). Many of these localities had not been previously visited by a specialist lichenologist and it
is these Southern Subpolar Region collections that make his collections of such outstanding international importance. From 1971 until his retired, Henry focused his attention on curating and identifying his collections and working on the Great Lakes lichen biota.
Although he published little, Henry Imshaug’s legacy to lichenology is his students, who included Irwin (Ernie) Brodo, Richard Harris, and Cliff Wetmore, and his collections. As an illustration of the continued (and increasing) importance of his collections, since he retired in 1990 over 125 scientific papers (100 of these since 2000) have been published that were based, at least in part, on his collection.
Henry Imshaug’s prestige in the world of lichenology is illustrated by the one genus and 15 species that have been named after him. Especially significant is that these 16 taxa have involved 17 authors.
A full obituary of Henry Imshaug, written by Ernie Brodo, will appear in The Bryologist in 2011.
Lichens named after Henry Imshaug
Imshaugia S.L.F. Mey.
Alectoria imshaugii Brodo & D. Hawksw.
Buellia imshaugiana R.C. Harris
Buellia imshaugii Hafellner
Calopadia imshaugii Common & Lücking
Cladonia imshaugii Ahti
Graphis imshaugii M. Wirth &
Hypogymnia imshaugii Krog
Lecanora imshaugii Brodo
Megalaria imshaugii Fryday
Megalospora imshaugii Lücking
Parmelia imshaugii Hale
Phyllopsora imshaugii Timdal
Pseudocyphellaria imshaugii D.J. Galloway & Redón
Rinodina imshaugii Sheard
Sphaerophorus imshaugii Ohlsson
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