Lichen in the Desert

lichen

lichen

Lichen is a symbiosis (partnership) between a fungus and one or more algae. When the fungus and algae meet, if they are compatible, they can make a lichen body (thallus). Each fungus and algae form a unique type of thallus body (three distinct types can be seen in the photo at right). While the exact relationship between the two species is still debated, the algae is photosynthetic which enables it to use sunlight to make sugars or food which will feed both the fungus and the algae. The fungi normally forms the outer surface, which offers protection against the weather and results in the algae having a more stable and constant environment to live in.

A lichen is a symbiosis (partnership) between a fungus and one or more algae.

There are many different types of lichen. Those that grow on the surface of rocks are called crustose lichens. These lichens form a crust on the substrate on which they are growing. The crust can be quite thick and granular or actually embedded within the substrate. Crustose lichens tend to grow out from their edges and have their fruiting bodies in their centre. Lichens are delicate and are easily destroyed if walked on.

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Published on March 16, 2009 at 3:27 AM  Leave a Comment  

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