Photo Credit: Bob Glennon
Caption: Just about everyone has noticed crusty, scale-like growths (crustose) or leafy growths (foliose) on rocks, trees and even bare ground called Lichens. But few know that Lichens are not just one organism, but a composite made up of two or more living elements. For over 150 years scientists have known that Lichens are composed of algae and fungi, beneficially living together (symbiosis). Recent studies suggest that a third partner, yeast, is another element. Lichens are not parasites, they don't harm the trees or plants on which they grow. On Alligator River Refuge most Lichen growth is found on tree trunks and branches. Below, the top photo is of a foliose Lichen. Bottom photo is a crustose Lichen. There are also squamulose and fruticose Lichens not shown.
Visit National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island. Open 7 days a week 9 am-4 pm Mon-Sat & Noon-4 pm Sun. Admission is free. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Alligator_River/
USE YOUR MANNERS and BASIC COMMON SENSE! For the safety of yourself and your family, as well as the wildlife you are viewing, ALWAYS VIEW FROM A SAFE DISTANCE! If you see a change in the behavior of the wildlife (they move away, etc), you are TOO CLOSE! And. remember: all traffic laws apply on Refuge roads. Seat belts, car seats for children, etc. - whatever is required by the State on a public highway is required on the Refuge! Learn more about tips for safety during bear encounters at http://bearwise.org/bear-safety-tips/bear-encounter/