Lichen covered rock

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Location: NW Scotland

Lichen covered rock

Post by NellyDee » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:47 pm

This is just a general question. I took this photo quite a few years ago. My main passion is rocks and their formations and this photo was among my collection of 'rock' photos, taken because I loved the markings made by lichen. So my question, is there specific species that only develop on rock that is frequently washed over with water. Some were raised like the photo, other were smooth (pebble like) but the colours and markings made by the lichen were still there as if the rock had been dyed with the colours.

The rocks were along a stretch of river where in the past, the bank had been reinforced to try and stop flooding I presume. The river Allt Camghouran, along a small part of its upper reaches(Perthshire).

I have decided that this photo should actually go with my photos of lichens and mosses, but don't quite know what to label it as.
Lichen on rock

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Re: Lichen covered rock

Post by Steve » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:56 pm

Hi Nelly,
Yes - there are lichens which like to be covered in fresh water. In Derbyshire there are 5 at least, out of a county list of over 200. These are
Bacidia inundata
Baeomyces rufus
Ionaspis lacustris
Porpidia hydrophila
Rhizocarpon lavatum
I only know Baeomyces rufus, which grows in profusion, splashed by water, by a pool at Chatsworth Garden Centre in the Peak District.
The lichens in Scotland, especially in the NW Highlands, are far more varied and better developed than ours here. Squeezed between Sheffield and Manchester many are stunted by pollution, although in recent years they have miraculously reappeared, it looks as though many are yet again suffering from sulphur pollution here in Sheffield. So your lovely water-washed Scottish lichen could be one of many more species, which, as each is a separate fungus, often need just the same microscopy as fungi, if you hope to name them reliably.
I collected hundreds of Scottish, Welsh and Cornish lichens in the 1980's, took photos and dried them. I put them away, and after the children had grown up, I took the box out of the attic. Most had turned yellow-brown, and so I gave up and discarded them.
But why should we always feel an obligation to put names to wild things? None of them come with a label! (though some see DNA as a label, it will never come as an app, and will probably always be the preserve of a few).
We can just enjoy the shapes, colours and textures of lichens....and wonder how they got here...

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