October 24, 2002
The photo above shows red-colored lichens growing on a Precambrian rock from the Canadian Shield, near Churchill, Manitoba. They're probably Red Crust Lichen (Caloplaca spp., Phylum: Mycophycophyta). Lichens are fascinating, primitive organisms that can be thought of as nature's pioneers - they open the way for other species. They're able to creep into some of the most barren and inhospitable parts of our planet and are comfortable grasping onto rocks, tree bark and just about any natural surface. Lichens can withstand extremes in temperature and moisture, but if necessary, they'll go into a dormant state in order to survive the most harsh weather conditions.