Monday, November 21, 2011

Bass Creek rock face...why are the rocks colored?

The colors on the rocks are from lichens. Lichens are the result of fungus having a symbiotic relationship with certain types of algae. Many different combinations result; there are over 500 different species of lichens in the Pacific northwest. Yep, that means color, structure, and habitat are different for each also. All lichen do not live on rocks; they also are found on wood and soil. They are beautiful and somewhat ubiquitous. Here's a close up of a member of the Cladonia genus:
Take along a magnifying lens or camera on your next hike and look closely for these miniature splashes of color. Not everything is currently covered with a white blanket of that oasis of greenery.