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We’re Like’n Lichens!

We’re Like’n Lichens!

Ever noticed a green or orange rock while out exploring Georgian Bay? It’s likely that you’ve discovered a rock covered in lichen!

Lichens are actually made up of two living things, an algae and a fungus. They join up together in a symbiotic relationship, where they both benefit from living together.

Algae produce energy from the sun through photosynthesis, just like trees and other plants. This energy is used as food for the algae and fungus. In return, the fungus provides a home and protection for the algae. Sounds like a good partnership!

Lichen are very sensitive to air quality. If lichens start disappearing from an area, that can be a big warning sign that there is air pollution.

Here are some lichen you may spot this summer:

1.    Caribou lichen
The caribou lichen is favourite food of – you guessed it – caribou!

2.    Common orange lichen
This lichen can grow on rocks but it needs a bit of help getting all of its nutrients. One way it can do this is by growing on top of bird droppings – so if you find some orange lichen, it’s likely a bird

3.    Map lichen
Astronauts exposed a species of map lichen directly to outer space for 10 days. The lichen survived

Three cheers for ancient rocks and floating docks!

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