Lichenology

I spent Saturday learning about lichens. You know lichens… crusty patches of silver, or sometimes muddy brown or yellow-green, found on rocks, trees, and wood fences. Gravestones. Moss. Old tires. The scientific world won’t let me call them plants, though my stubborn mind still insists on sorting life into plant and animal, as if I can’t get beyond my sixth-grade self. Lichens are ancient, whatever they are, and part of the rare group of organisms know as extremophiles.  Composed of fungus and algae, living together like two humans sharing a townhouse. Occasionally they allow a third roommate, cyanobacteria. Strange bedfellows, these organisms. Does the relationship benefits both parties? Or does fungus hold algae in captivity, demanding nutrition as ransom? Few humans hold the title of lichenologists. Ah, but if I had a do-over…~K

 

                               

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We depart from the main boat dock at Devils Fork State Park, Salem SC, 28676