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.

6 comments:

Anesha said...

Great macro shot, love the colours!!

Nadege, said...

Wow, great details in this macro shot.

urban muser said...

thanks for joining {in the picture}! see you soon.

Dee said...

awesome shot, love the colors!

Sharyl said...

I'm always interested in the odd things that grow on rocks and trees. They often have such amazing colors and textures and seem so foreign to our everyday world. I really like these photos! Thanks for telling us a bit about the "stuff" too! :-)

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Lovely macro! The lichen crusted rock stands out amongst the others. We most often see lichens in shady areas of tree trunks and wooden fences here.