Lichens space composed the two different species, but they role as one. Lock consist the a fungus and algae, living with each other in a symbiotic relationship where the fungus is the dominant organism. The algae space either environment-friendly algae or blue-green algae, well-known as cyanobacteria. The algae produce carbohydrates v photosynthesis which serve as food because that the fungus, if the fungus physically protects the algae and provides it with moisture. Lichens can live in a wide range of locations and also climates -- from the polar regions to the tropics. They kind on undisturbed surfaces such together rocks and also tree bark. Lichens come in various forms, yet all require clean air and most have useful effects top top the ecosystem.

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The significant types of lichens room crustose, foliose and fruticose. Crustose lichens kind crusts over rocks, soil, tree trunks or roof shingles. They room usually grayish-green, yet may likewise be yellow or red. Crustose lichens affix firmly to your surface, creating rough patches. Foliose lichens room flat, yet have convoluted, bumpy or irpari forms. They thrive in class with distinctive upper and also lower surfaces. Fruticose lichens room hair-like or shrubby and also often are found hanging native trees. They space pendant or upright v no distinguishable upper and lower surfaces.


Lichens thrive in undisturbed sites wherein nothing else will grow. They flourish on rocks, barren soil and the bark the dead or live trees. Lichens room not parasitic once they thrive on trees, they just use the tree bark together a home. Lock enrich the soil by trapping water, dust and also silt. Once lichens dice they contribute organic issue to the soil, enhancing the soil so that various other plants can grow there.


Due to your association with algae, lichens room able to convert nitrogen in the air into nitrates, which they require for your growth. Conversion of atmospheric nitrogen effects the ecosystem, because when the rains, nitrates space leached from lichens for use by nearby soil-based plants.

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Although lichens space tough and also can endure in too much climates, including excessive heat, cold and also drought, they room sensitive to air pollution. Due to the fact that lichens room so pollution-sensitive, some researchers use lock to assess the air contamination coming from industrial plants and also urban areas. Lichens absorb whatever from the air, including carbon dioxide and also heavy metals. Scientists deserve to extract the toxicity compounds native lichens and also determine the level the air contamination in a given area. The dice of lichens at a website is an early warning authorize of harmful pollution.


Based in Connecticut, Marie-Luise Blue write a regional gardening column and has been released in "Organic Gardening" and "Back Home." Blue has a Ph.D. In organic sciences indigenous the State college of brand-new York in ~ Stony Brook and wrote scientific posts for almost two decades before beginning to compose gardening articles in 2004.