Herbarium identifies roadside photosynthetic bacteria

Roadside mat of cyanobacteria in the genus Scytonema, spotted by community scientist Becky Dill in Anson County, NC.

What would you think if you saw the above mass on the side of the road? Some sort of funny lichen? That’s what community scientist Becky Dill thought when she spotted this “unknown lichen-like substance” on a roadside outcrop in Anson County, NC. She sent a specimen to the UNC Herbarium (NCU), where lichen curator Gary Perlmutter investigated.