Exploring natural history one itsy bitsy spider at a time...

Exploring natural history one itsy bitsy spider at a time...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lichen

Cladonia Bellidiflora?

Flavoparmelia caperata?

What is a lichen?  From experts, the Sharnoffs, at www.lichen.com:

Lichens are composite, symbiotic organisms made up from members of as many as three kingdoms.

The dominant partner is a fungus. Fungi are incapable of making their own food. They usually provide for themselves as parasites or decomposers.

"Lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture"-- lichenologist Trevor Goward.

The lichen fungi (kingdom Fungi) cultivate partners that manufacture food by photosynthesis. Sometimes the partners are algae (kingdom Protista), other times cyanobacteria (kingdom Monera), formerly called blue-green algae. Some enterprising fungi exploit both at once.


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