Experiments in photography, jewelry making, mosaics, and other artistic obsessions
08 January 2012
I Heart Macro: Lichens
Lichens on sedimentary rock, Magdalena, NM, Jan. 2012
The winter landscape always seems bleak to me, but on yesterday's walk this lichen-covered rock jumped out at me with its splash of unexpected color. Lichens are a symbiotic union of fungi and algae, and can adapt to and thrive anywhere from the arctic tundra to the arid southwest. They survive extreme drought by going into a sort of dormancy (termed a "cryptobiotic state"), coming alive again when moisture becomes available. This likely explains the flourish of color on the lichens pictured here; the foot of snow we got two weeks ago lingered and melted slowly, giving everything a long, cool drink of water and reviving the hardy lichens scattered across our plentiful rock formations. A lichen crust makes a fine offering for today's I Heart Macro; be sure to stop over at Lori's site to see lots of other beautiful close-ups.