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Description: THis odd looking gafitti is a crust lichen in California's Mother Lode. Lichens are important for several reasons. One of the most obvious is that they are beautiful to look at. How colorful would the rocks and cliffs be in the Sierra Mountains without the reds, yellows, and greens of the crust lichens? Without these living creatures clinging to rocks, our natural areas would look pretty boring and a little more lifeless.
Another important function of lichens is that they provide a mode of survival in harsh environments where algae cannot normally survive. Since the fungus can protect its algae, these normally water-requiring organisms can live in dry, sunny climates without dying, as long as there are occasional rain showers or flooding to let them recharge and store food for the next drought period. Because lichens enable algae to live all over the world in many different climates, they also provide a means to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
Uploaded on 6/14/2010 7:35:48 AM
Made with Minolta Dimage Z3 Digital Camera
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