Category: Anonymous

Would you rather live in a lichen house or a mushroom house?

I think a lichen house would smell better…

If you’re talking a house inspired by either of these, I’d probably choose mushroom because how cute would that be

All algae, but especially green algae (Charophyta), are protists, not plants! However they utilize the same chlorophyll pigments of plants (A & C iirc).

😮

What’s your opinion on green algae – is it a plant?

Isn’t it? Is this something that’s up for debate? I need to know!

how did you find a university that studies lichens! they seem pretty underfunded in research 🙁

I got pretty lucky! There aren’t many university researchers exclusively studying lichens. My advice is to collect a bunch of papers relevant to your interests and then look at where the authors work.

did you do a master's in lichen stuff too?

I started my master’s but then realized how little currency they have these days and “upgraded” to a PhD. Whether or not this was a mistake remains to be seen.

is it considered bad to help identify organisms you are still learning about? I wanna learn how to identify stuff but I'm afraid of misidentifying

This is a great question. When I started learning how to identify organisms, I was so excited about it that I wanted to share my newfound knowledge with others. In retrospect I know that I misidentified a lot of species, as evidenced by some of the early posts in this very blog (hopefully I’ve corrected most of the misidentifications by now…).

Sharing knowledge is a beautiful thing. As long as others know you’re a beginner, I see no problems with helping identify things. Ironically, the more I’ve learned the more I know that I know nothing. I’ve stopped posting lichen identifications because I know my ID will take more than just looking at a picture, sometimes even requiring molecular sequencing to confidently identify, and followers trust me to be a reliable source of information. At the end of the day just have fun with it! As long as it’s not going to ultimately be eaten, a misidentification isn’t going to hurt anybody. Going out and learning the names of the friends growing around you is a beautiful thing.

idk if this will be helpful for your situation or not but what do to work through complex research stuff when all of my braincells have taken a vacation of indefinite length is working entirely on paper rather than a screen, & highlighting & making notes/drawings everywhere. it looks messy but it keeps me from having to keep the info in my brain, so I can just glance back & understand. then i can go back & combine everything on a 2nd messy scrap paper. takes a lot of drafts but gets stuff done

That is helpful. I am a fan of taking screen breaks to write on a piece of paper or read from a book (even if the info in the book is slightly outdated compared to what I could find online). It’s times like these that I wish I had more labwork, since that tends to be a nice break from looking at a screen or trying use my brain.

Deserts are super cool (I’m biased because I grew up in one), but it sucks that you haven’t gotten research opportunities closer to what you want. Which desert is is? Also your blog is amazing🖤

It’s true – one thing I’ve learned is that deserts are way cooler than I ever expected. It’s  amazing to think about the adaptations every flora and fauna has to survive in such an extreme environment. This year I’ve done field work in the Mojave and now have been invited to collaborate with a project in the Atacama Desert.

But, as amazing as deserts are, I will always be happiest in a lush forest. Trees are my homies.

There are native plants for my area (the geographical end of blue ridge mountains in VA) that grow best/only with certain fungus. How are these fungus introduced to a newly landscaped yard with native-only plants? I want to bring the blue ridge national forests to my city lot.

I don’t know a whole lot about cultivating mushrooms, but you’d be surprised by how prolific mushroom spores are. They are everywhere.

How did you get into lichen? What made you want to study the funky little soups?

I was introduced to them on a class trip to the southern tip of Chile (tangent: an anonymous donor made that trip possible. they were only offering it to 10 students, and I was like, eh I might as well apply even though I probably won’t be accepted. and then I was! the lesson of this story is to apply to things randomly), and I was fascinated. Then I got home and realized they were there too! Something I like about lichens is that people don’t really notice them until you point them out, and then they notice them HARD. Anyone who’s been on a hike with me has been infected.

Anyway, I got into mycology for fun, and I remained taken with lichen. I thought they’d always just be a hobby for me, so it’s awesome that I get to study them now.