Lawrey, James D. (Active)
George Mason University
Jim was born on December 15, 1949, in Arlington, Virginia, and grew up in Rockville, Maryland. He received a BS degree in biology from Wake Forest University in 1971, an AM degree in biology from the University of South Dakota in 1973, and a PhD degree in botany from Ohio State University in 1977. As a graduate student at Ohio State, Jim met Mason Hale, who was then curator of lichens at the National Museum of Natural History. During the summer of 1976, Mason invited Jim to work on a lichen growth study that had been started earlier on Plummers Island. This study, which was funded by the Washington Biologists’ Field Club, was the first to measure lichen growth photographically over an extended period of time. Jim and Mason also began analyzing lichens from Plummers Island for various heavy metals, especially lead. Initially the study sites were located entirely on Plummers Island. In 1965, these sites began receiving large levels of lead from atmospheric deposition from the American Legion Bridge, which is located immediately above the Island. Sites also were established on Bear Island and the Blue Ridge of western Virginia. Results of these studies, which documented changes in lichen growth in response to atmospheric pollution, were initially published in Science in 1979. These studies have continued under the sponsorship of the National Park Service. In 1977, Jim was appointed assistant professor of biology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. There he was responsible for teaching undergraduate courses in ecology, botany, and evolution, and graduate courses in plant ecology. He was involved in the development of the PhD program in Environmental Science and Public Policy. In 1982 he was promoted to associate professor and in 1993 became professor of biology. Jim has conducted numerous research projects for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service that were designed to use lichens as bioindicators of atmospheric quality. He has also been interested in the phytochemistry and chemical ecology of lichens. Jim has published a book, Biology of Lichenized Fungi, and numerous book chapters and journal articles in the areas of lichen biology, Mycology, and chemical ecology. He has been invited to organize or participate in numerous symposia concerning lichens, biomonitoring, lichen symbioses, and lichen chemistry at national and international meetings. He has been active in the Botanical Society of America and in the American Bryological and Lichenological Society, serving as associate editor, secretary-treasurer, and president. He has also served as president of the Botanical Society of Washington. Jim was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1982 and served as vice president from 1993 to 1996, and as president from 1996 to 1999.