Saturday, February 5, 2011

I'm Lichen It!

Breathe deeply, you are standing next to a tree full of lichen. At first glance, they may appear to be snow puffs. Instead they are a very curious combination of two organisms living together intimately in a symbiotic relationship. Each winter they take over this tree outside our bedroom window.

Years ago, an old-timer told me when you see lichen you know the air is good and clean. Stop and fill your lungs. I have always taken his advice. A little research when writing this blog confirmed it, "Most lichens are extremely vulnerable to air pollution. When lichens disappear, they give early warning of harmful conditions," according to Lichen appears to be the "canary in the coal mine" of life on Planet Earth.

Happily, they are bountiful here at Saltair Station.

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