Georgia's Lichen

by arditoscience
Last updated 8 years ago

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Georgia's Lichen


a fungus growing symbiotically with algae

Lichen Composition and Purpose Lichen is made up of algal and fungal cells. Lichen's classification is usually based on the classification of the fungal cells within the lichen. Most lichen are made of lichen of green algae (trebouxia) or cyanobaterium (nostoc) and fungus, usually from the ascomycete family. (However, there are known to be basidiomycete lichens are known.. Lichen are often called mutually symbiotic because the relationship between the fungus and algae is beneficial to both sides. The function of the algae in the fungal cells is to perform photosynthesis. The algae is therefore called the photobiont. The fungus is called the mycobiont, because the fungal cells protect the algae and store water and minerals. For example, the fungus produces hydrophibins that keep the algae dry as they use the incoming carbon gas to photosynthesize. Lichen is actually made of millions of photosynthetic microorganismsheld in place by fungal hyphae.

What is the name of your plant? LichenWhat does it look like?It can vary, but typically looks like hunks of crispy, colorful moss.What is the scientific name for your plant?Mycophycophyta or Lichenes Plantus, but lichens are typically only referred to as lichens.What scientific family does your plant belong to?Ascomycetes.Where does it live?Lichen can live almost anywhere in the world; different types of lichen thrive in different habitats. Some live in harsher conditions, some in more temperate.What are the optimal conditions for your plant?For the type that I am studying, tundra or desert are best-- places with very harsh conditions and with little other flora.How does your plant get its energy?Photosynthesis.What other organisms does it interact with?Lichen itself is made up of two types of cells, algal and fungal cells, which interact with each other and help each other. However, lichen cannot afford to interact with other plants because most plants stand higher than lichen and would steal their much-needed sunlight.How is your plant well adapted to its environment?Lichen has the ability to enter a cryptobiotic state, shutting down its metabolism when it no longer has the energy to keep it going. However, once it regains the items necessary to restart its metabolism, it is able to do so almost immediately. When it is no longer in a cryptobiotic state, it is not only able to restart photosynthesis but also to fix any damage suffered during its time in the cryptobiotic state.What is cool/special/surprising about your plant?Lichen is able to go into a state of "limbo". Also, it is a mixture of algal cells and fungal cells. This is a case of mutualism, in which both spieces benifit from the compound.



Fungal and algal cells together forming lichen.

Green lichen growning on a tree branch.

Orange lichen growing on a rock.

Lichen is often used for the study of Lichenometry, studying how old something is be determining how long lichen has been on it. Also, lichen, although extremely hardy plants, have difficulty surviving through air polution. So, when your lichen starts dying, you're air polution may be getting worse.

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