Lichens

The appearance of lichens is plant-like which hides their true identity. It is not a single organism, but the result is mutualistic symbiosis between an alga or cyanobacteria and a fungus. Sometimes lichens are formed with three or more partners. The body of lichens consists of filaments (hyphae) of fungi, which surrounds the cells of blue-green cyanobacteria and/or green algae. The basis of mutualistic symbiosis in lichens is equal to the partnership between some mycorrhizas, species of fungi and the roots of most plants. The fungus lichen provides its partner a benefit by giving protection and in return it gains nutrients. Lichens can grow in a wide range of shapes and is usually determined according to the organization of the fungal filaments. The fungus part of lichen benefits from the algae or cyanobacteria as they produce food by photosynthesis. It grows in a wide range of substrates and habitats. Lichens classifications done based on the fungal component present in it. Its species are given the same binomial name according to the fungus species. Some lichens also have antibiotic properties and some of the acids produced by lichens are utilized in drugs that can be more effective than penicillin.

  • Growth forms
  • Physiology
  • Ecology and interactions
  • Taxonomy and classification
  • Uses of Lichens

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