Matthew Pedrotti uses a hand lens to look at the orientation of flowers to determine the species in the Arcata Community Forest. | Photo by Walter Hackett

Looking for lichens

Biology student puts classroom lessons to practical use with regular plant ecology forest walks in the Arcata Community Forest.

Biology student puts classroom lessons to practical use  in the Arcata Community Forest

Matthew Pedrotti, a senior biology major with an ecology and biodiversity emphasis, spends much of his free time on campus exploring the nearby Arcata Community Forest in order to locate and classify various plants.

“Look at the lichen in its natural habitat,” Pedrotti said on a walk through the forest.

Pedrotti said he is particularly fond of lichens, which is the union of a fungus and an algae.

“I find them fascinating,” Pedrotti said. “They’re very diverse.”

Pedrotti said he carries a hand lens in his pocket at all times.

“I can’t leave home without it,” Pedrotti said.


Matthew Pedrotti describes some of the vegetative features of lichens found on an alder twig in the Arcata Community Forest. Photo by Walter Hackett

According to Pedrotti, he could spot with his naked eye at least three microlichens and at least two other macrolichens from an alder twig he found.

“This alder twig is an example of how speciose [rich in species] lichens are in nature,” Pedrotti said. “Lichens are excellent ecosystem health indicators.”


An alder twig displaying multiple species of lichens in the Arcata Community Forest. Photo by Walter Hackett

“The black spots of this microlichen are actually sexually reproductive organs,” Pedrotti said.


Matthew Pedrotti dissects a cotoneaster fruit to reveal seeds in the Arcata Community Forest. Photo by Walter Hackett

Pedrotti said he thinks HSU is unique because it has an accessible community forest right next to campus. The forest provides plant specimens to examine such as cotoneaster fruit.

“Fun fact, cotoneaster is highly related to apples and pears,” Pedrotti said.

However, Pedrotti said that just because it’s called a fruit, it doesn’t mean that it is edible to humans.

“Yeah, I would not eat these,” Pedrotti said.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

6.4 magnitude earthquake shakes up life in Humboldt County

By Jake Knoeller A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the North Coast of California during the early hours of Tuesday morning. Humboldt County residents were heavily affected. Many had objects knocked off shelves, broken valuables or even major structural damage.  “I

Destroy Boys and Margaritas Podridas rock the Gutswurrack

By Ollie Hancock and Kiana Znika In masks and makeup, showgoers shook the barrier, moshed, and crowd surfed to queer punk anthems to kick off the Halloweekend in an alternative safe space. Destroy Boys, and Margaritas Podridas filled the Gutswurrak

Letter to the editor RE: Faculty union challenges TimelyMD

Letter to the Editor  I am writing in response to the article published on 11/16/22, “Faculty Union Challenges  TimelyMD.” While I was frustrated by the one-sided tone of the article, as well as the  unsubstantiated claims, and inaccuracies, within it,

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply