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Learn why lichens are cool at Native Plant Society gathering

The Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society will meet at noon on Thursday, April 20, at Wicomico Parish Church, 1591 Jessie duPont Memorial Highway Wicomico Church.

Dr. Manuela Dal Forno will explain “Why Lichens Are the Coolest.” Members and guests are reminded to bring a brown bag lunch. Beverages and light refreshments will be served.

“Lichens are fascinating “composites creatures,” in which tiny, photosynthetic algae or cyanobacteria form symbiotic relationships with fungi,” said president Kevin Howe. “They have many attractive shapes and sizes, as well as grow almost everywhere.”

A postdoctoral research fellow in the Botany Department at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Dal Forno studies the evolution, diversity and microbial associates of a group of  tropical lichens in which mushroom-like fungi live symbiotically with nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria.

After the presentation, Dal Forno will lead a short walk around the church property to look for lichens.

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