An O'hia Ecosystem

An O'hia Ecosystem high above above Makua Valley
Photograph  by Chris Dacus

An O'hia Ecosystem

A native web of life high above Makua Valley on the Island of O'ahu. Yellow lichens (Teloschistes flavicans, Usnea australis & Usnea spp.) and green mosses (Macromitrium piliferum) form a cooperative form of life, living together on an old O'hia tree (Metrosideros polymorpha) - what I would call an O'hia ecosystem.

The lofty branch gives lichens and mosses better access to sunlight for making their own food, as well as to moisture condensed on the tree through the phenomenon of fog drip. The tree benefits from the decomposition of lichens adding nutrients to the soil. This symbiotic relationship between lichen, moss and trees is millions of years old. 

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