Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

A trio of lichen growing on a rock in the Shenandoah National Park.

Our theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge this week is:  Trio.
Our instructions: What comes in threes?

My husband and I went for a hike in the Shenandoah National Park on Tuesday.  I love hiking in the fall and winter — we mostly have the park to ourselves.  The only downside?  Mother Nature’s color palette has taken a decisive turn for the brown and blah.  But, I always have my camera with me when we hike, because you never know what you might find.  I set out to find a trio of something for this week’s photography challenge, which pretty much guaranteed I would find everything but threes.  (We did find a black bear, but he was solo, which was plenty exciting.)

Me of little faith.  I walked around a corner and saw this . . . a trio of lichen.

What the heck is lichen?  You know, it’s that stuff that grows on rocks.  Beyond that, I knew nothing.  So I figured I’d better learn something.  Lichen looks like one organism, but it’s actually two — a fungus and an algae.  They live together in a mutually beneficial relationship (sciency people call this a symbiotic relationship).  Fungi can’t make their own food, but algae does, through photosynthesis.  Fungi retains water and nutrients from the environment that the algae uses to create energy, which the fungi uses to retain water and nutrients from the environment . . . and so on and on.

After that, my interest in scientific inquiry fell off pretty steeply.  I’ll just admire nature’s trio.

DSC_8388-1Nikon D800
ISO 400 | 44mm | f/2.8 | 1/800 sec

Salud!

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