Dr Holger Thus

Holger Thüs
  • Curator, Lichens
  • Life Sciences department
  • Genomics and Microbial Biodiversity Division
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Employment history

Senior Curator Lichens and Myxogastria (slime moulds), the Natural History Museum, 2013 to present.

Lichen Curator, the Natural History Museum, 2008-2012.

Scientific Collaborator (Curation), Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Karlsruhe, Germany 2008.

Postdoc at the Technical University Kaiserslautern, Germany, 2003-2008.

Scientific Collaborator (Curation), Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt/M., Germany 2002.

Environmental Consultant, 1992-2008.


Phd, Botany, University Frankfurt/M., Germany, 2001

Diplom, Biology, University of Mainz, Germany, 1997.


My curatorial work covers the management and development of one of the world’s largest collections of lichens, lichenicolous fungi (species parasiting on lichens) and slime moulds (Myxogastria) with a total of approx. 450,000 specimens. A small number of non-lichenised fungi and the possibly earliest scientifically accurate collection of models of fungi by J.Sowerby are also curated in my section.

The collections span 300 years of time and are worldwide in coverage, including approx. 10,000 type specimens. Two thirds of our types can now be viewed online via Jstor and lists of all our filing names for the General Fungarium and the British & Irish Fungarium are accessible via our collections pages.

Special Projects

I am coordinating a project to enhance conservation and access to our non-incorporated collections (backlogs) across the Botanical Collections Team. This includes the development of a database with batch-level descriptions of all collections and the stabilisation of material at risk from deterioration.



My research interests are focussed on the ecology and evolution of amphibious lichens, bioindication and the conservation of lichenised fungi and their associated algae.


Evolution and taxonomy of amphibious lichens within the family Verrucariaceae (Ascomycota)

External collaborators: C Gueidan (Canberra, Australia), J Nascimbene, C Ruperti, F LoSchiavo (University Padua, Italy), A Orange (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff),V. Shivarow (Univ. Sofia, Bulgaria), J Pykälä (University Helsinki, Finland), S Perez-Ortega (Centro de Ciencias Medioambientales, Madrid, Spain), B Büdel (Technical University Kaiserslautern, Germany), M Hauck (University Göttingen, Germany).

Amphibious lineages have evolved several times independently in the lichen family Verrucariaceae (Ascomcyota). The aim of this project is to study within selected species groups, what distinguishes closely related taxa from amphibious and terrestrial habitats, with a focus on morphological and ecophysiological traits with the by-product of revisions for these taxonomically problematic species groups.

What makes the difference? Identifying Hot Spots of freshwater lichen biodiversity on different spatial scales

External ollaborators: Juri Nascimbene (Padua, Italy), Matthias Schultz (Hamburg, Germany), Roman Türk (Salzburg, Austria), Franz Berger (Kopfing, Austria), Yelitza Leon-Vargas (Merida, Venzuela), C.Vairappan (Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia), Reinaldo Vargas (Santiago, Chile).

By analysing existing and gathering new data from inventories of freshwater lichens in Central Europe and worldwide a catalogue of criteria will be achieved which will help to understand diversity patterns of Freshwater lichens and identify priority areas for conservation. By revisions of historical herbarium specimens, development of a database for distribution data from several European Herbaria and comparison of reconstructed and revised historic inventories with results from recent and future fieldwork an estimation of the rate of change in different localities and regions of Central Europe is aimed and compared with existing assumptions on the species loss and conservation needs for amphibious lichens.

Lichens as bioindicators in forested ecosystems

Department of Life Sciences: P Wolseley, H Thüs, P Eggleton,

External collaborators: N Sanderson (Southampton, UK), D Carpenter (UK), A Scobie (Port of Spain, Trinidad), U Jayalal (Royal Botanical Garden Peradeniya, Sri Lanka), H. Döring (Kew Gardens), R Lücking, G Werakoon , T Lumbsch (Field Museum, Chicago, USA), A.Tehler (Stockholm, Sweden)

Based on data from standardised randomised sampling we are analysing the structure of epiphytic forest lichen communities and their response to natural and anthropogenic influences in temperate and tropical areas. Results of these studies are the identification of bio-indicators for various aspects of environmental health (e.g. climatic conditions, air quality and habitat continuity), updated checklists and recommendations for the management of lichen diversity. Collaboration with colleagues focusing on molecular taxonomy will allow us to investigate the systematic position of new species and re-define the delimitation of critical taxa found during these inventories and barcode their genetic diversity.

Chemical profiling of lichens 

Department of Life Sciences: H Thüs, P Wolseley

External Collaborators: C Vairappan, N. Hazami (Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia),  J. Boustie & M Chollet (University Rennes, France), T N’Guyen (Ho-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam)

In collaboration with Natural Product Chemists preserved specimens from our collections and fresh material are screened for novel chemical substances. Combined with bio-geographic and ecological information from collection data and targeted field work we aim at exploring the role of these substances for the lichen symbiosis and explore their potential use in pharmaceutical applications.



Thüs, H., Aptroot, A. & Seaward, M. 2014. Freshwater Lichens. In: Jones, EBG, Hyde, KD & Pang, KL (eds.) Freshwater Fungi and Fungus like organisms: 333-358. De Gruyter, Berlin.

Le Devehat, F., Thüs, H.. Abasque, M.L., Desmail, D. & Boustie, J. (2014). Oxidative Stress Regulation in lichens and its relevance for survival in coastal habitats. In: Advances in Botanical Research 71: 471-.507.

Thüs, H. & Schultz, M. (2008): Freshwater Flora of Central Europe, Vol. 21/1: Fungi, Part1: Lichens. Spektrum, Heidelberg. 229 pp.

Leistikow, K.U. & Thüs, H. (2007): R.B. Hough: The Wood Book. (Second revised edition) – Taschen. Köln, 800 pp.

Thüs, H. (2002): Taxonomie, Verbreitung und Ökologie silicoler Süßwasserflechten im außeralpinen Mitteleuropa. – Bibliotheca Lichenologica 85: 1-214.

Thüs, H.(1990): Flechten und Bioindikation - Flechtenatlas der Stadt Ratingen und immissionsökologischer Methodenvergleich. – ratinger protokolle, Schriften 2: 212 pp. Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) Landesverband NW e.v. (Hrsg.). Ratingen.


Journal Articles

Lücking, R., Grall, A., Thüs, H., (accepted June 2014): Typification of Thelephora pavonia Sw.and reinstatement of Cora ciferrii (Tomas.) comb. nov. The Lichenologist.

Nascimbene, J, Thüs, H., Nimis, P.L. 2013. Lichens as bioindicators in freshwater ecosystems – challenges and perspectives. – Annali di Botanica 3: 45–50.

Schiefelbein, U., Czarnota, P., Thüs, H. & Kukwa, M. 2012. The lichen biota of the Drawieński National Park (NW Poland, Western Pomerania). Folia Cryptog. Estonica 49: 59–71

Thüs, H. Muggia, L., Pérez-Ortega, S., Favero-Longo, S.E., Joneson,S., O’Brien,H., Nelsen, M.P., Duque-Thüs,R. Grube, M., Friedl, T., Brodie, J., Andrew, C.J., Lücking,R., Lutzoni, F., Gueidan, C. 2011. Revisiting photobiont diversity in the lichen family Verrucariaceae (Ascomycota). European Journal of Phycology 46: 399–415.

Gueidan, C., Thüs, H. & Perez-Ortega, S. 2011. Phylogenetic position of the brown algae-associated lichenized fungus Verrucaria tavaresiae (Verrucariaceae). – The Bryologist 114 : 563-569.

Lumbsch, H.T. (…)Thüs, H. (...) [101 co-authors]. 2011. One hundred new species of lichenized fungi: a signature of undiscovered global diversity. – Phytotaxa 18: 1–127

Nascimbene, J., Spitale, D. Thüs, H. & Cantonati, M. 2010. Congruencies between photoautotrophic groups in springs of the Italian Alps: implications for conservation strategies. Journal of Limnology 70 Suppl.: 3-8. DOI: 10.3274/JL11-70-S1-01

Joshi, Y.,  Thüs, H., Hur, J.R. (2010): Caloplaca aequata is a synonym of C. cinnabarina (Teloschistaceae). – Lichenologist 43 (2): 141-146.

Nascimbene, J., Thüs, H., Marini, L., Nimis, P.L. (2009): Early colonization of stone by freshwater lichens of restored habitats: a case study in northern Italy. – Science of the Total Environment 407 (18): 5001-5006.

Thüs, H. & Wirth., V. (2009): Verrucaria madida in Zentraleuropa. – Herzogia 22: 71-77.

Hauck, M., DeBruyn, U., Wirth, V., Sparrius, L., Thüs, H. & Preussing, M. (2009): New or interesting records of lichen forming fungi from Lower Saxony, Germany. – Herzogia 22: 109-116.

Gueidan, C., Savic, S., Thüs, H., Roux, C., Keller, C., Tibell, L., Prieto, M., Heidmarsson, S., Breuss, O., Orange, A., Fröberg, L., Amtoft Wynns, A., Navarro-Rosinés, P., Kristinsson, H., Krzewicka, B., Pykälä, J., Lutzoni, F. (2009): The main genera of Verrucariaceae (Ascomycota) as supported by recent morphological and molecular studies. – Taxon 58 (1):184-208.

Thüs, H. & Nascimbene, J. (2008): Contributions toward a new taxonomy of Central European freshwater species of the lichen genus Thelidium (Verrucariales / Ascomycota) – Lichenologist 40 (6): 499-521.

Nascimbene, J., Thüs, H., Nimis, P.L. (2007): Freshwater lichens in springs of the eastern Italian Alps: floristics, ecology and potential for bioindication. – Annales de Limnologie - International Journal of Limnology 43(4): 285-292.

Thüs, H. (2006): Neufunde und Bemerkungen zur Gefährdung amphibischer Flechten aus dem Saarland und Rheinland-Pfalz. – Delattinia 32: 127-140.

Thüs, H. & Licht, W. (2006): Oceanic and hygrophytic lichens from the Gargano-Peninsula (Puglia / South-Eastern-Italy). – Herzogia 19: 149-153.

Aptroot, A., Czarnota, P., Jüriado, I., KocourKova, J., Kukwa, M., Lomuhs, P., Palice, Z., Randlane, T., Saag, L., Serusiaux, E., Sipman, H., Sparrius, L., Suija, A., Thüs, H. (2004): New or interesting lichens and lichenicolous fungi found during the 5th IAL Symposium in Estonia. – Folia Cryptogamica Estonica 41: 13-22.

Thüs, H. & Dornes, P. (2003): Neu- und Wiederfunde von Flechten in Hessen. – Hessische Floristische Briefe 52 (2/3): 62-67.

Thüs, H. (2003): Flechten und die Stadtbiotopkartierung von Mainz. – Mainzer Naturwissenschaftliches Archiv, Beihefte 22: 218-236.

Thüs, H. (2003): Zikaden (Homoptera/Auchenorrhyncha) im Mainzer Stadtgebiet. – Mainzer Naturwissenschaftliches Archiv, Beihefte 22: 272-278.

Cezanne, R., Eichler, M.,&  Thüs, H. (2002): Nachträge zur ”Roten Liste der Flechten Hessens”. Erste Folge. – Botanik und Naturschutz in Hessen 15: 107-142.

Thüs, H.& Schöller, H. (2002): Floristische und ökologische Untersuchungen an Kleinstandorten hygrophytischer Flechten auf Obstbäumen im Mainzer Trockengebiet (Rheinland-Pfalz, Deutschland). – Herzogia 15: 147-158.

Thüs, H. (2001): Die Flechtenflora des NSG Kalkberg in Lüneburg. – Jahrbuch des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins im Fürstentum Lüneburg 42: 189-204.

Thüs, H.& Schöller, H.(1999): Zur Bedeutung von Obstbäumen für gefährdete Flechten im nördlichen Rheinhessen. – Fauna Flora Rheinland-Pfalz 9: 303-327.

Schöller, H., Thüs, H. & Böttner, M. (1999): Flechten (Lichenes) als Indikatoren zur Bewertung von Ökosystemen und ihre Bedeutung für den Naturschutz. – Kleine Senckenbergreihe 32: 121-134. Frankfurt/M.

Thüs, H.(1996): Zikaden der Weiden um Balingen-Zillhausen (Schwäbische Alb). – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 31: 36 - 51.

Thüs, H. (1996): Epiphytische Flechten um Balingen-Zillhausen (Schwäbische Alb). – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 31: 52 - 67.

Kirschbaum, U., Windisch, U., Heitmann, B., Kaesler, C., Kluthe, R., Kömig, R., Kohlhass, D., Luschtinetz, R., Martin, O., Mayer, B., Meinunger, L., Oepen, S., Rechimann, C., Sendke, P., Siegmuind, I., Stahlberg, M., Teuber, D., Thüs, H., & Tiller. K. (1995): Beurteilung der lufthygienischen Situation Hessens mittels epiphytischer Flechten. – Umweltplanung, Arbeits- und Umweltschutz 171: 150 S. Wiesbaden.

Thüs, H. (1993): Limnologische Untersuchungen am Wittwichsbach. – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 27: 9 - 19. Hamburg.

Thüs, H. (1993): Flechten der Kreuzwertheimer Umgebung. – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 27: 41 - 49.

Amithai, N., Benmda, J., Blankenhagenm P., Heitz, S., Heubel, V. & Thüs, H. (1992): Limnologische Gewässergütebestimmung nach verschiedenen Methoden. – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 26: 10 - 36.

Thüs, H. (1992): Immissionsökologische Untersuchungen an einer Mülldeponie. – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 25: 13 - 26.

Thüs, H. (1991): Flechtenfunde im Nordschwarzwald. – Naturkundliche Beiträge des DJN 23: 37 -48.