Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summary of Lichens

As you spend time outdoors this summer, you will, no doubt come across those splendid examples of sybiosis -- the Lichens.  These algae-fungi duos are rather interesting.  Here is a brief summary of these critters that I put together:

Summary of Lichens
Lichens are a symbiotic structure, consisting of a Fungus, or mycobiont (80% are members of the Fungal Phylum Ascomycota) and an Alga, or photobiont, species (usually a member of Division/Phylum Chlorophyta [Green Algae], with 75% being from the genus Trebouxia).  For the purposes of classification, they are listed under their fungal phylum.  All examples below are Ascomycetes.

Lichens are found in three general structural forms, based on the shape of their thallus (body):

Crustose, which are flat and crust-like. Cf. the Orange Sea Lichen (Caloplaca marina), seen below:

File:Caloplaca marina.JPG

Foliose, which are flat and leaf-like. Cf., the Common Greenshield Lichen (Flavoparmelia caperata), seen below:

File:Flavoparmelia caperata-5.jpg

Fruticose, which are coral- or branch-like.  Cf. the Reindeer Lichen (Cladonia rangiferina), as below:

File:Cladonia rangiferina 205412.jpg

Live well!

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