Pixie cup lichen (Cladonia sp.)

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leonardturner
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Pixie cup lichen (Cladonia sp.)

Post by leonardturner »

Image

This small (some 8 mm for the tallest) "pixie cup" lichen is quite common, but seems uncommonly beautiful.







Lumbercam/reversed 50 mm el Nikkor/Nikon D3S/Stackshot/Zerene
Last edited by leonardturner on Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

abpho
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Post by abpho »

Very cool. Haven't seen this type of lichen yet.
I'm in Canada! Isn't that weird?

Pau
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Post by Pau »

Very nice!
Pau

Pizzazz
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Post by Pizzazz »

I really like the texture and dimension. Nice with the water drop.

Mike

JL
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Post by JL »

One of the most beautiful pictures that I have seen lately!!!

Congratulations.

leonardturner
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Post by leonardturner »

My thanks to all of you for your kind comments.

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Leonard,

Captivating image! :D

I've long been fond of pixie cups. Am among those who suspect that Cladonia pyxidata describes not a specific taxon, but a disparate group of lichens that have similar appearance.

Your image does a great job of showing how a lichen is a partnership of a fungus and an alga. Your use of moist conditions makes the algal bits (green) especially distinct from the fungal hyphae (white).

So an image both attractive and illustrative. Yay!

--Chris
Last edited by Chris S. on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RogelioMoreno
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Post by RogelioMoreno »

I like it!

Rogelio

leonardturner
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Post by leonardturner »

Thanks to you both, Chris and Rogelio. Thanks to you especially Chris for your earlier reference on lichens; I read it in its entirety and learned much. I wonder if some of the fungal partners in the lichen complex will in the future be found to incorporate some of the algal genes as we apparently have with our ancient bacterial visitors. Perhaps they already have.

Leonard

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

leonardturner wrote:Thanks to you especially Chris for your earlier reference on lichens; I read it in its entirety and learned much.
Oof! Now I feel bad for editing it out. I thought I might have been treading a bit heavily on your thread, in my enthusiasm for lichens, so shortened my response. Now I'm not sure where to find that reference.

A good friend of mine is a botanist with expertise in lichens, and so I've had an excellent source from whom to learn. He is also like a kid at Christmas when someone sends him lichens from exotic places. I once found myself in a bazaar in Kyrgyzstan, pantomiming "hammer" and "chisel" at stall after stall, since I knew not a word of the local languages, and needed these implements to collect crustose lichens from rocks in the mountains.

Anyway, back to your thread. I've seen--and taken--a lot of pictures of pixie cups, but yours is wonderful.

Cheers,

--Chris

ckatosmith
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Post by ckatosmith »

Yes, beautiful and captivating...

leonardturner
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Post by leonardturner »

Thanks to you both. Chris, here's your reference in case you need it again:


http://archive.bio.ed.ac.uk/jdeacon/microbes/lichen.htm

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

This is a really excellent image!

I have no experience in trying to collect, maintain, or photograph this sort of lichen. Can you give me some more details about the process you used?

--Rik

leonardturner
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Post by leonardturner »

Rik, Thanks for your interest and comments.

I can claim no lichen expertise, but I was fascinated by these tiny cups which were growing on a very damp bank in the North Georgia mountains. They were easily removed with a pocket knife, bringing a few millimeters of soil with them, transported back home in a sealed plastic cup, and placed in a softball size glass container with an open front. They were watered with distilled water on pretty much an every day basis and kept on a window sill. They were photographed about 2 weeks after collection, and continue to look good now, 6 weeks later. The water in the cups is distilled water from my wash/watering bottle.

Chris' earlier comment is well taken; my identification came from a retired botanist who saw the picture, but the world of taxonomy is changing rapidly. I should have perhaps stayed with "pixie cups", or maybe just left it at "Cladonia".

The photography involved a stack of 150 images through a reversed 50 mm el Nikkor onto a full frame sensor Nikon D3S. Focusing was by moving the entire lens/bellows/camera complex by a Stack Shot rail, and images were processed by Zerene. The "lumbercam" comprises several sections of 2X6 wood left over from another project with a ball head for the rail on one end and flexible holders for the strobes on the other. The top section can be removed to adjust for height, and final subject positioning is done via a very heavy derelict microscope chassis modified for the purpose. An earlier version of this with different lighting and lens is pictured here:

Image

The Cladonia image was made not with the SB 800 units shown in the picture, but with a pair of relatively tiny Nikon SB-R200s with the optional diffusion covers mounted, placed very close to the subject on either side. Fired by the "Commander" unit seen on the camera, these can be adjusted to very low power (and short flash duration) individually, with good battery life using rechargeable batteries.

Leonard

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Great info -- many thanks!

--Rik

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