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Lichen outreach

I taught a Lichenology course spring quarter, and I asked students to create some kind of work to help the world understand how important and generally awesome lichens are. They came up with some fantastic outreach materials.

Allie wrote a song:

Lyrics:
C D
I used to go out walking, climbed on rocks and measured trees
G C
Looked for tracks of animals, heard the buzzing of the bees
C D
Didn’t I was missing something wonderful and strange
F C
But then I was enlichened, and I was forever changed!

C D
Come and be enlichened by these tiny fungi farms
F G C
Come look through my hand lens, awaken to their charms!

C D
First I learned the basics–the crusts and leafs and hair
G C
And how they take in everything that’s floating in the air
C D
How to key a lichen out, test for a metabolite
F C
How in reproduction spore and algae must unite

C D
Come and be enlichened by these tiny fungi farms
F G C
Come look through my hand lens, awaken to their charms!

C D
Later on the lessons starting getting more advanced
G C
Lichens forming soil crusts, lichens on the leaves of plants
C D
Lichens moving round the world on the legs of beasts
F C
And the great new lichen partner, the mystery of yeasts!

C D
Come and be enlichened by these tiny fungi farms
F G C
Come look through my hand lens, awaken to their charms!

C D
Now I go out walking and there’s so much to see!
G C
Xanthoria is glowing on nearly every tree!
C D
I pack my wounds with Usnea, lichens are filling up my car
F C
And I’m laying out the plans for a lichen brandy bar!

C D
Come and be enlichened by these tiny fungi farms
F G C
Come look through my hand lens, awaken to their charms!

 

Lana and Beth made a music video:

Lyrics:
Beth Beyer and Lana Saykali Present: Fresh Lichen of Bel-Air

Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became lichen lookin out for fresh air

In East Yolo County born and raised,
Being a lichen is how i spent most of my days.
Soredia, isidia, relaxing all cool
chilling with the other lichen outside of the school

When a couple of businesses were up to no good
Started polluting in my neighborhood
I got all shriveled up and my mom got scared
She said you?re moving to the country to get some fresh air

I searched for a tree and when it came near
The tree bark looked fresh and was all in the clear
If anything I say that this site was rare,
But I thought nah forget it,
Yo, I’ve got spores to spare

Sun pulled up in the sky around 7 or 8
And I yelled to the algae, “Yo photosynthesize”
I looked at my Kingdom
I was fungi-ally there
To sit on my throne and breath the fresh air

 

Emma’s lichen infographic:
So you want to know about lichens

 

Kevin’s cartoon about Toby Spribille’s discovery that lichens can have a basidiomycete yeast partner:
TheRealTobyStory

 

Tobias’s California state lichen poster: lichen-poster-e1498885027760.jpg

 

Beth’s lichen song:

YOU ARE MY LICHEN SONG

Set to the tune of “You are my sunshine” by Johnny Cash

The other day pal, as I went hiking
I looked for lichens high and low
And when I came home, I checked my pockets
What do you know? I had found a nice Flavo!

You are my lichen, my very first lichen
You make me happy when you appear
On your edges, is that soredia?
I must take a closer look in my microscope

I’ll always look for you and try to find you
Your home seems to be on trees and rocks
I hope all photobionts can find fungal partners
So they’ll be more lichens poppin’ up in every spot

I found a new lichen, a second lichen!
This one is called Letharia columbiana
You have big apothecia, and a central holdfast
I hope your green color never fades away

I went out again pal, to hunt for lichens
I kept my eyes peeled all around
And what do you know, I found another!
I guess they call this one Parmelia hygrophila

You are my lichen, my third lichen
You are foliose and smooth on top
I found you on an oak tree, out in nature
And you have such a super cool hairy underside

In all my walks downtown in Davis, I seem to find you
But only a few since air quality is poor
You are so orange and small and crusty
You are the awesome species Xanthoria!

You are my lichen, my last lichen today
You absorb nitrogen like a pro
I love to see you in the microscope
How small but detailed you truly are

The end!

Now go out and find some special lichens for your own collection!

 

Chris’s lichen infographic:chris infographic

Ozark glades have changed over 75 years

On a day-to-day basis, it can be hard to notice gradual changes in the plants and landscapes around us. But comparing landscapes across extended time periods can illustrate striking changes.

As part of my dissertation research, I’ve been using aerial photographs to examine how tree cover in Ozark glade landscapes has changed between 1939 and 2014.

Tree and shrub cover has greatly expanded in Ozark dolomite glades (rocky, dry calcareous grasslands) since 1939, when most glades had relatively few trees. Today, some–but not all–glades that have been managed with prescribed fire and mechanical thinning remain nearly as open as they were in 1939. But most glades, and nearly all unmanaged glades that never burn, have become partly–or completely–covered in trees and shrubs.

Here some examples of changes in glade landscapes in the Ava District of Mark Twain National Forest.

Below: McClurg glade. On the left side of the photo is unmanaged glade that has become filled with cedars. On the right side, an area that has been mechanically thinned and frequently burned remains open. Local ecologists consider this one of the highest quality remnant glades in the Ozarks.

mcclurg

These images sequence through (1) a 1939 image, (2) a 2014 image, (3) a 2014 false color image, and (4) overlay of fire unit for areas that are burned (in pink). The false color image shows cedars in dark green, broadleaf trees and shrubs in light green, and open grassland in orange.

Below: a glade in the Hercules Glades Wilderness that has not been burned for many decades:

hercules unburned

Below: A glade that has been regularly burned over recent decades but still has noticeably higher woody vegetation cover than it did in 1939.

sisterseast

Below: A glade complex that has been unburned for decades:

unburned