Most of us walk past lichen-covered rocks, splotched with grays, greens, and golds, without giving them a closer look. Ari Daniel Shapiro visits with mycologist Anne Pringle and graduate student Benjamin Wolfe to learn about these amazing symbiotic organisms, formed when a fungus partners with an algae. Each lichen can host an entire microcosm, a microbial landscape teeming with life. These worlds-within-worlds are proving an invaluable tool for scientists studying our changing landscapes.
Lichens are all around us, so let us know where you have seen them. Send your photos of lichens to firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story using the online recorder below. When you submit you have a chance to win an EOL hand lens for checking out those lichens up close.