Thursday, 17 March 2016

Liking Lichens

Last night we went along to the Edinburgh Natural History Society to hear a talk on Lichenology given by lichenologist and ecologist, Anthony Taylor. It was a fascinating talk following Taylor round his travels across Scotland looking for lichens, concentrating on the rare and unusual lichens he has seen in various places. He also briefly outlined the basic biology of lichens and talked about how he got interested in what is a relatively obscure and difficult group of organisms.

I've always been fascinated by lichens (a blend of fungi and algae or cyanobacteria), they're very beautiful, as you can see on this tree trunk in Colinton Dell by the Water of Leith, which is festooned with lichens and mosses


They are very difficult to identify though! I have struggled to identify any of the species that I've seem and looking through the field guide to British lichens at last night's talk only made me more confused as so many species look very similar! A very interesting group of species though.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh currently have a (rather underwhelming) exhibition on lichens on display in the Gateway Gallery.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

6 comments:

Rabbits' Guy said...

I have recently read that tree moss - and perhaps lichens - take up toxins from the air and water and might be a good source of measuring such. Was that mentioned or have you heard? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/03/us/toxic-moss-in-oregon-upsets-city-known-for-environmental-ideals.html?_r=0

gabriellebryden said...

I can imagine they would be difficult to identify - good luck with that ;)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Rabbits Guy, yes lichens are excellent indicators of air quality, though this wasn't discussed in the talk.

sage said...

I remember walking around near the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with a man I'd met at dinner at a lodge who was professor and studied lichen. He was a wealth of information and I wish I had taken better notes--that area we were at was above tree line and had lichen similar to the arctic.

Lowcarb team member said...

Glad you enjoyed the talk.
There is so much to see and learn about ...

Enjoy the remainder of Friday and have a good weekend.
Perhaps you may have a walk planned ...

All the best Jan

Magyar said...

woven true
stones and tree roots
lichen cloak

__Would it not be grand... if we all appreciated the vast mysteries of nature_! _m