This week’s featured scientist is a former board member with 5 years of experience with Market Science! Daniel Stanton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences. He studies plants and lichens in extreme environments, from the world’s driest desert to high mountains and Minnesota winters (we may be used to them, but they are quite extreme for most organisms). He focuses on how these organisms adapt to difficult conditions, and how those adaptations change the places where they grow. Moss and lichens are particular favorites, since they are some of the toughest multicellular organisms that we know, in some cases even able to survive in space.
Studying moss and lichen is incredibly interesting, but can also seem confusing. Daniel Stanton gives a brief introduction to his research as well as moss and lichen biology in the videos below
We have several useful videos for you! Watch how you can observe lichens in your own communities. Then, test your skills by counting and identifying the different lichens on a tree and stick along with Dr. Stanton. Finally, check out the lichen key we have available and identify the lichens near your home. We also have some coloring sheets of different lichens for younger learners. You can find all of the activities and the full videos linked below!
Blog post of National Geographic funded work on desert lichens: https://chilelichenfogdesert.weebly.com/blog
Header Photo by Aldo Hernandez