A Lichen Rap…yes, that’s right


Now I know you’re all tired, but just sit tight

We’re going to tell you a story about the lichens and the light

Lichens are cryptic but ubiquitous

A fungus and an alga in symbiosis

Some lichens fluoresce, and we’re not sure why

It could help them to cope with that UV high

And so we might expect, on more exposed trees

More lichens to fluoresce under UV

Fluorescing yellow, pink and green, and orange glow

Why the different colors, well we don’t really know

We also set out to see if in shade

The fluorescing lichens would actually fade

[Is this a trait to the species inherent

Or just a response to the lighting apparent]

We chose two sampling sites; in the garden botanic

And in the primary forest, which is a bit more organic

We sampled seven trees in total, from each site

We sampled during the day, and then during the night

North side, south side, east side, west side

We’re looking all around so the lichens can’t hide

Temperature and light and humidity

To see how these factors might co-vary

Black light, black light, black light, black light

Hard to see in the day, so we do our work at night

The lighting sure is different, as you can see

Due to the openness of the canopy

Suffice to say, as results clearly show

It’s in the place of high light that the lichens do glow

Why do lichens fluoresce, you may be wondering

It comes down to some acids with some carbon rings

These acids fluoresce in different intensities

What must they look like to the birds and the bees??

We’ve just barely scratched the surface of what these compounds mean

To the lichen, ecosystem, and all that’s in between

We said that all quite quickly, but there’s no need to fuss

There’s plenty of time, and we’d be happy to discuss

Brought to you by ‘Hooligans of the Forest,’ from the album “It’s a (W)rap”




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