The next of this series of posts on Bulburin National Park will look at some lichen I observed in the rainforest. Bryophytes and lichens have long fascinated me, possibly because once you look closely, they themselves can look like intricate forests of great complexity and beauty. The moisture level of rainforests allows them to flourish there.
This enormous Ficus sp. is covered with an array of lichens of various hues. Lichens are the result of a symbiosis between a fungus and an algae. The algae provides sugars produced by photosynthesis, and in return, the fungi supply the algae with nutrients it extracts from the substrate--in these cases, the bark of the tree.
Next post: Mosses.