<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Lichens blanket many rocks and tree bark, displaying a range of colors and textures. Lichens are important pioneer organisms that colonize rock surfaces in otherwise lifeless environments such as are created by glacial recession. The lichen is able to leach nutrients from the rocks and break them down in the first step to creating soil. Lichens are also present in mature habitats on rock surfaces or the trunks of trees. They are an important food source for caribou. Lichens are not a single organism, but rather a fungus (usually an Ascomycota or Basidiomycota species) living in close contact with a photosynthetic organism (an alga or cyanobacterium). The body of a lichen, referred to as a thallus, is formed of hyphae wrapped around the green partner. The photosynthetic organism provides carbon and energy in the form of carbohydrates and receives protection from the elements by the thallus of the fungal partner. Some cyanobacteria fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, contributing nitrogenous compounds to the association. In return, the fungus supplies minerals and protection from dryness and excessive light by encasing the algae in its mycelium. The fungus also attaches the symbiotic organism to the substrate.

Fungi have evolved mutualistic associations with numerous arthropods. The association between species of Basidiomycota and scale insects is one example. The fungal mycelium covers and protects the insect colonies. The scale insects foster a flow of nutrients from the parasitized plant to the fungus. In a second example, leaf-cutting ants of Central and South America literally farm fungi. They cut disks of leaves from plants and pile them up in gardens. Fungi are cultivated in these gardens, digesting the cellulose that the ants cannot break down. Once smaller sugar molecules are produced and consumed by the fungi, they in turn become a meal for the ants. The insects also patrol their garden, preying on competing fungi. Both ants and fungi benefit from the association. The fungus receives a steady supply of leaves and freedom from competition, while the ants feed on the fungi they cultivate.

Importance to humans

Although we often think of fungi as organisms that cause diseases and rot food, fungi are important to human life on many levels. As we have seen, they influence the well-being of human populations on a large scale because they help nutrients cycle in ecosystems. They have other ecosystem roles as well. For example, as animal pathogens, fungi help to control the population of damaging pests. These fungi are very specific to the insects they attack and do not infect other animals or plants. The potential to use fungi as microbial insecticides is being investigated, with several species already on the market. For example, the fungus Beauveria bassiana is a pesticide that is currently being tested as a possible biological control for the recent spread of emerald ash borer. It has been released in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
in a comparison of the stages of meiosis to the stage of mitosis, which stages are unique to meiosis and which stages have the same event in botg meiosis and mitosis
Leah Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Concepts in biology (biology 1060 tri-c). OpenStax CNX. Jan 15, 2014 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11617/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Concepts in biology (biology 1060 tri-c)' conversation and receive update notifications?