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In a Place for the Dead, Studying a Seemingly Immortal Species

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On a sparkling New England afternoon, as hawks coasted overhead and yellow leaves drifted to the ground, Anne Pringle stood before a large granite obelisk that marked the graves of a family called French.

In this bucolic cemetery, steps from the headquarters of Harvard’s research forest, she was pondering mortality. But she wasn’t thinking about the Frenches. She was thinking about lichens.

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