epiphytes

Meet the Treetop Lichen

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Lichens contribute such beautiful colors to our redwood forests, growing elegantly on trees, fallen logs, and rocks. Each lichen you see is actually a symbiotic partnership — algae or cyanobacteria wrapped up in a fungal package. Thanks to canopy biologists Rikke Reese Næsborg, Cameron Williams, Marie Antoine, and Continued

Sitka Epiphytes.

Epiphytes Provide High-Up Base for Biodiversity

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William Ellyson and Stephen Sillett found evidence that demonstrates that epiphytes—plants that use other plants for mechanical support—play a crucial role in maintaining the biodiversity of redwood forest canopies. It’s well known that these hangers-on thrive in the old-growth Douglas-fir forests of Oregon and Washington, in places amassing the weight of two concert grand pianos per acre. Ellyson and Sillett reveal in this study that Douglas-fir has a rival in Sitka spruce, a tree that grows in and among northern coast redwood forests and supports a shockingly high diversity of epiphytes. Learn more about this research.

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