Ellura Sanctuary, Swan Reach, SA, 5354
Thumbnails: 9.   3 native species (0 introduced) listed, with 3 natives (0 introduced) from Ellura
Bacteria (Bacteria) - Cyanobacteria (Cyanobacteria) - Blue-green bacteria (Cyanophyceae) - Algae (Nostocales); 1 species from Ellura - Blue-Green Algae (Nostocaceae); 1 species from Ellura
Witch's Butter
Nostoc commune

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Other Common NameStar Jelly

Thank you Dr Roman Romanov for confirming the id of this species for us

Interesting stuff that if you try and pick up when wet, barely sticks together. Very slimy.
It seems to be 99% water because it dries out soon after the puddle it's in dries up.
The colonies shown here are around 10 to 50mm across.
The colonies can be quite thin and look translucent. Overall a very dark green colour.
These were all taken at the same time in & around a small rock pool, after some rain, which is normally dry.
Imaged 4 in Jul
🔍A colony in water
Wet on a Rock
Drying out after puddle dried out
Desicated in a short timeframe
Crust (Crust) - Crust (Crust) - Crust (Crust) - Crust (Crust); 2 species from Ellura - BioCrust (Biocrust); 1 species from Ellura
Microphytic crust
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Other Common NamesCryptobiotic Crust, Cryptogamic Crust, Duricrust or Microbiotic Crust

The Microphytic Crust is an incredibly important structure.
While not a single species, this seemed to be the best place to highlight it's value to Ellura.
Our friends at Entwood have a nice write up on it:
On this photo you can see a chunk has been dug out and turned over (by an animal we assume).
It's difficult to see normally, but this highlights how thick it is. You can see how lacking in nutrients the soil underneath is, and how rich in life the Microphytic Crust is.
While the common name of Duricrust is also used, it's a bit of a misnomer on Ellura. Technically duricrust contains more minerals and is harder, while the crust we have at Ellura (and seen in the surrounding area) appears to be mainly organic.
Imaged 1 in Jul
🔍Peeled Back
Crust (Crust) - Crust (Crust) - Crust (Crust) - Crust (Crust); 2 species from Ellura - Duricrust (Duripan); 1 species from Ellura
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Other Common NameDuricrust

This is here to show the difference between the organic Microphytic crust & the calcrete layer (duri-crust) formed when calcium/limestone leaches up from below.
A millenia ago Ellura was under the ocean and a limestone shelf was created from dead shellfish, etc. This limestone shelf is up to 60m below. The calcium from the limestone shelf leaches up and crystallises around rocks and branches near the surface creating another shelf, this time calcrete. Same minerals, different process

There is also another form of calcium deposits here called Stromatolites which is created from a different process again.
Imaged 3 in Jul(2) & Oct(1)
Encased Rock & twigs
Layers Cleaved Open
Layers in Profile

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