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WWP307 - deer lichen lives on air, large

This spin around is an entry in the World Wide Panorama (WWP) March 2007 event, with the theme "Atmosphere", opening April 9, 2007. Deer lichen (deer moss) depends heavily on the atmosphere.

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Description

Deer lichen spreads lightly over the coastal sand scrub forest floor, putting down no roots. {At least I thought so in early 2007. Later I see that some of the lichens I've tried to lift have fibers connecting to earth that are called rhizines.} A ground lichen, its two symbiotic parts depend on the atmosphere in different ways. The fungus part gets moisture and nutrients from air and dew. The alga part converts sunlight into food. Lichens concentrate pollutants from the atmosphere and they absorb radioactive fallout, so they indicate air quality. It is hard to identify local species of the worldwide Reindeer lichen or reindeer moss plant family that might be in this image. One deer lichen is on the Florida endangered species list in earlier documents. However in 2009 Cladonia perforata is not called a reindeer lichen (see 2014 page: Cladonia perforata).

The panorama shows three animated geometric shapes nestled in the deer lichen. Call them Unidentified Atmospheric Units (UAUs, pronounced "wow"). In 1992, I had visions of these psychic tetrahedronal chunks along the path taken by my dying son. He was flying a paraglider and fell from the air. I have not organized related experiences, nor do I have a clear explanation of the UAUs. I feel their appearance here now is an evolutionary step. See a Flash movie showing more of them moving.

About scale, this is a closeup view from less than a meter above ground, looking down around you. Each puffball would fit in the palm of your hand. Instead of lichens and pine needles, it is easy to imagine seeing an aerial view of trees and roads. Dry lichen of this type is often used in creating architectural models.

Supporting the deer lichen are wiggly fingers of noisy colors streaming in from the lower edge of the panorama as jets of air. They serve the dual purpose of covering stitching errors.

About the glow

I knew that the dynamic range of deer lichen was hard to photograph. In all previous photos, the highlights of the airy growths were blown out. So I bracketed the exposures. Even the darkest exposures had quite light areas. I toned down the worst areas in the panorama, to provide detail. But I left some of the glaring highlights to give a sense of the glow emanating from these plants. Sometimes they seem like light sources in the darkened forest.

Deer lichen site 2.5. See other Wholeo World Wide Panorama entries. Back to deer lichen or Lookout.

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