Category: lichen

Regular

Whenever I speak affectionately on why I love and am so enchanted by lichen, I mention how fascinating it is that it’s a composite organism, something you hesitate to call a single species because it is actually made up of several species from different kingdoms.

Today in one of the Facebook groups I’m a part of, someone shared the work of a biologist, Dr. Scott Gilbert, who has written about how the idea of the “biological individual” is a myth which overly simplifies research on not only evolutionary biology but also immunology, anatomy, physiology, etc. In his 2012 paper “The Symbiotic View of Life: We Have Never Been Individuals,” he aims to show that “animals cannot be considered individuals by anatomical, or physiological criteria, because a diversity of symbionts are both present and functional in completing metabolic pathways and serving other physiological functions. Similarly, these new studies have shown that animal development is incomplete without symbionts.”

Maybe this isn’t as mind-blowing to people who are more involved with animal-focused research, but as someone with a botanical/mycological background I am very much enjoying thinking about this and its implications. I, like lichen, am not a single species but a collection of organisms symbiotically existing as part of the same whole. I am not an individual but rather an ecosystem.

Hi, I hope your snow-day is going well! I have…

Hi, I hope your snow-day is going well! I have two questions. Is there a specific mushroom you feel a very strong connection to? And, do you have some general information about mushrooms or lichen that frequent frigid/frozen environments? Cheers!

Okay, after an unexpected 3 hour nap (D:) I’m back to answer more questions! I have two fungi that I really love a lot, for similar reasons. First is Calostoma cinnabarinum, which I made a whole video on.

Second is Pseudohydnum gelatinosum:

I like both of them because they are squishy, and well, squishy things are great.  (Is that scientific enough?)

As far as lichens that frequent frigid temps: the two most important factors controlling their ranges are light and moisture. Lichens are very good at going dormant, and many species are able to withstand frigid temperatures. Here’s a cool article detailing the lichens growing in Antarctica.

Mushrooms, on the other hand, have different physiologies than lichen. I am planning on making a video soon on what species to look out for in northeastern United States during the winter, and your question reminded me to get off my butt and work on that.

Thank you for the questions!

Regular

blacknproud19

Is it true that scientists have never been able to cultivate Lichen in a lab? And that it essentially remains a mystery in terms of its component biology? I read it somewhere but never took the time to confirm that.

Scientists have been unable to successfully synthesize lichens in the lab using the algae and fungi that typically form those species. There are still some mysteries about the components – it’s definitely not as simple as the duality previously considered. Recent research has revealed that yeasts could be a big part of it, even bacteria. Actually, while making sure that I wasn’t just feeding you a bunch of lies I found this cool paper that looks into lichen’s bacterial association.

I messed up my side mirror just before heading…

I messed up my side mirror just before heading out for a photo/video hike, which led to me stopping at the hardware store beforehand for some heavy duty glue. Not wanting to drive too far and risk undoing my DIY fix, I picked the nearest chunk of public land to meander – Mazomanie Oak Barrens natural area. It was my first time there, and immediately I was in love with all of the lichens. I also found this beautiful log, so hopefully someone else out there can appreciate it as much as me. (It’s not super necessary to unmute for this one unless you really want to hear my voice.)

Transcript: As of today, January 17, 2017*, I …

Transcript: As of today, January 17, 2017*, I would like to coin a new term: BBA (Big Beautiful Apothecia**).

*Correction: 2018. Hi, I know what year it is.

**The reproductive part on some species of lichen. On this one, it is the brown disks.

microcosmicobservations: Please enjoy this vid…

microcosmicobservations:

Please enjoy this video that captures me acting like a kid in a candy store while exploring some rocks! In the video I give suggestions on how to make your winter hikes more enjoyable as you hunt for organisms to investigate.

Summary:

  • Take your time and hike mindfully to notice the small details

  • Note assemblages of communities and how they might fit into the ecosystem as a whole

  • Look for nooks and crannies – these can create microclimates ideal for protecting organisms from cold winter wind, as well as accumulating moisture

One final reblog because I realized I didn’t write out some of the more specific points:

  • Look at bases of trees for mosses and entire trunks for lichens
  • Look at rocks for mosses and lichens, where you can sometimes see the reproductive structures
  • Check out the margins of unfrozen bodies of water for aquatic or partially-aquatic species like duckweed and liverworts
  • Look for evergreen plant species like partridge berry and some species of fern

More tips to come soon since we have only just opened Pandora’s box.

microcosmicobservations: Please enjoy this vid…

microcosmicobservations:

Please enjoy this video that captures me acting like a kid in a candy store while exploring some rocks! In the video I give suggestions on how to make your winter hikes more enjoyable as you hunt for organisms to investigate.

Summary:

  • Take your time and hike mindfully to notice the small details

  • Note assemblages of communities and how they might fit into the ecosystem as a whole

  • Look for nooks and crannies – these can create microclimates ideal for protecting organisms from cold winter wind, as well as accumulating moisture

Please enjoy this video that captures me actin…

Please enjoy this video that captures me acting like a kid in a candy store while exploring some rocks! In the video I give suggestions on how to make your winter hikes more enjoyable as you hunt for organisms to investigate.

Summary:

  • Take your time and hike mindfully to notice the small details

  • Note assemblages of communities and how they might fit into the ecosystem as a whole

  • Look for nooks and crannies – these can create microclimates ideal for protecting organisms from cold winter wind, as well as accumulating moisture

My BEST posts of 2017

December ♥ 355

November ♥ 144

October ♥ 149

September ♥ 457

August ♥ 420

July ♥ 258

June ♥ 140

May ♥ 233

April ♥ 140

March ♥ 208

February ♥ 444

January ♥ 567

This year was probably one of the worst years for me personally, but I’m grateful for all that I was able to see and share with you. Thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you have a wonderful new year! 

microcosmicobservations:

microcosmicobservations:

Some people introduce themselves to their neighbors when they move to a new place – I, on the other hand, explore plant communities in the nearby forests. I’ve been back in Wisconsin for a few days, and today I finally got outside. I went to Baxter’s Hollow, which I’d been to just a few times before but recalled it had a lot of nooks and crannies that would be good for finding interesting communities on a sunny winter day. It exceeded my expectations – I was enchanted by the variety of lichens growing on boulders, the evergreen ferns tucked between rocks, the lush moss covering downed trees, and the gorgeous bluffs. I am excited to return on the next sunny day, though next time I’ll go early before the sun hides behind the western hills.