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Beavers, Lichens, and Science - Oh My!

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Blog post written by Amy Jewitt (GRLC Board Member)

Video provided by Peter Walker (GRLC Board Member)

Beaver activity at Glade Run Lake (with GRLC Board Member, Dave Fowler, shown in photo).

The natural world at Glade Run Lake provides ample opportunities to view and appreciate nature year-round. From the birds flitting about in the trees, to the wide array of plants that call Glade Run Lake "home". Even now in these cold winter months, there is life to be seen, noticed, and studied.

If you've recently visited Glade Run Lake, you may have noticed some beaver activity along the lake's shoreline. Peter Walker, Board Member with the Glade Run Lake Conservancy, recently visited and captured video showing the trees that were impacted by this important animal. Known as a keystone species, beavers are considered animals on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if they (beavers) were removed, the ecosystem would drastically change. In this way, beavers play a critical role in the natural world by promoting and sustaining biodiversity.

Video credit: Gwilym Walker

Also showcased in Peter's video is a small but interesting plant - the lichen. Peter explains that though a lichen appears to be an individual plant, it's actually a fungus and an algae growing together. Who knew?!

Through a symbiotic relationship, the lichen and algae actually depend on one another to grow. The algae use the fungi for structure, and the fungi use the algae to photosynthesize and produce energy.

In his video, Peter goes on to discuss a term called lichenography that perhaps many of us have never even heard of before (myself included). This is a type of science that illustrates the natural history of lichens. Additionally, Peter describes lichenometry, a geomorphic method of geochronologic dating that uses lichen growth to determine the age of exposed rock. How interesting!

Lichens. Credit info provided at bottom.

After reading this blog post and watching Peter's video, I hope you come away with a deeper and more appreciative understanding of the animal and plant life found on the property at Glade Run Lake. The natural world is ever changing and there is always something new to see, if only we have the eyes to notice it.


About Us

Peter Walker (video contributor) and Amy Jewitt (blog post author) are each active board members with the Glade Run Lake Conservancy. Peter joined the GRLC in 2019, and Amy joined in 2018.


Lichen Photo Credits:

(Left photo) Credit: Flickr user ramograph using a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license - Link to image

(Middle photo) Credit: Flickr user Siaron James using a CC BY 2.0 license - Link to image

(Right photo) Credit: Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski using a CC BY-SA 2.0 license - Link to image

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