Succulent Iceland

Succulents, which combat heat stress by a form of photosynthesis which allows them to store solar energy in a chemical form during the day, with their water-losing pores closed, and complete photosynthesis in the night, with their pores open, seem to be thriving in Iceland, which is not known for its heat. Luck at them here (bright green), in a colony of mosses and Icelandic purslane: a little tidal pool at the base of the wall of the Hengifossá Canyon.I suspect that greenhouses of snow cover, left empty by the effects of the wildly-varying height of the stream nearby, play a role here, but, really, I just think there’s room for extensive study here. I’d say it’s not just lichens that live in community in this climate, but all kinds of creatures, which do better together than apart.

After all, we are talking about an island which is an edge ecosystem: warmed by the Gulf Stream  while cooled by winds from the north. Anything is possible here! The whole country is a hot house!

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