Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Denali's Big, But Don't Forget The Tiny

Denali National Park is known for its huge vistas, where a moose becomes a tiny spot.  But I like to focus on those tiny spots.

Here's a whole world on a tree stump.

And here, bigger than life-sized, is the leg and foot of a yellow rumped warbler.

Rocks and mosses.

There weren't too many flowers open yet, but there were some mountain aven.

And this frigid coltsfoot.

When you get this close to a white crowned sparrow, you can start to see individual features that would allow you to distinguish one bird from another.

Spectacular orange lichen on the rocks.  I'm going with Xanthoria Elegans on this one.  You can check out a lot of different lichens hereFrom Wikipedia:

This species grows on rock, both calcareous and siliceous, occasionally overgrowing moss or litter or rock. It is often found on exposed to somewhat sheltered sites, often near bird or small-mammal droppings.[4] It has also adapted successfully to growth on man-made and natural growing surfaces from the sea-water spray zone to the boreal forest and in the grasslands of the continental interior.[10][11][12] It can thrive in areas having less than 6 centimetres (2.4 in) annual precipitation and can survive submerged in streams for much of the growing season.[5]
Xanthoria elegans has an extremely broad circumpolar and alpine distribution, and is found on all continents except Australia.[13] It is widespread in Antarctic regions.[14]
The lichen is used as a model system to study the potential to resist extreme environments of outer space. Out of various lichens tested, it showed the ability to recover from space-simulating situations, including exposure to 16 hours of vacuum at 10−3 Pa and UV radiation at wavelengths less than 160 nm or greater than 400 nm.[15] X. elegans has survived an 18 month exposure to solar UV radiation, cosmic rays, vacuum and varying temperatures in an experiment performed by the ESA outside of the ISS.[16]

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