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Activity Discussion Environment What are lichens ? Reply To: What are lichens ?

  • Kunal

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    February 22, 2024 at 6:03 pm
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    Lichens are unique organisms that are the result of a symbiotic relationship between fungi and photosynthetic organisms, usually algae or cyanobacteria. They are composite organisms, meaning they consist of two or more different types of organisms living together in a mutually beneficial partnership.

    The fungal partner in a lichen, known as the mycobiont, provides the structural framework and protection for the lichen. It absorbs and retains water, provides anchorage, and facilitates gas exchange. The photosynthetic partner, known as the photobiont, provides nutrients through photosynthesis. The photobiont can be either algae or cyanobacteria, depending on the species of lichen.

    Lichens are commonly found in diverse habitats worldwide, including rocky surfaces, tree bark, soil, and even in extreme environments such as deserts and Arctic regions. They come in a variety of forms, including crust-like, leafy, and branching structures. Lichens can exhibit a wide range of colors, including green, gray, yellow, orange, and black.

    These organisms are highly resilient and can tolerate extreme conditions such as drought, cold, and pollution. They are also known to play crucial ecological roles, such as soil formation, nitrogen fixation, and providing a habitat for other organisms.

    Lichens have been used by humans for various purposes. Some species are used as traditional medicines, dyes, food sources, and even in perfumes. They are also studied by scientists as indicators of air quality and environmental health due to their sensitivity to pollution.

    Overall, lichens are fascinating organisms that represent a successful and complex symbiotic relationship between fungi and photosynthetic partners.

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