Dry stone wall, Borrowdale Cumbria

Dry stone wall, Borrowdale Cumbria

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A dry stone wall in Borrowdale Cumbria UK. Dry stone walls are widely used in Northern Britain as a durable stock-proof boundary to pastures. The materials used vary with availability, and may include river cobbles, clearance stones from pastures, and quarry stone or slate. The pictures shows the west-facing side of a wall 50m above sea level, built from a mixture of cobbles and clearance stones The rock is of the Borrowdale Volcanic series. The surface of a dry stone wall is a harsh environment; here, it supports a variety of crustose lichens, the most obvious being the lime-green Rhizocarpon geographicum, or map lichen. Lichens are the result of a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an alga; this partnership is able to wthstand conditions of drought and extremes of temperature that would be fatal to either constituent on its own

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Keywords: borrowdale volcanic rock, clearance stones, crustose lichen, dry stone wall, lichen, map lichen, pasture, rhizocarpon geographicum, symbiosis

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