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When they grow on plants, they do not live as parasites, but instead use the plants as a substrate.
Lichens occur from sea level to high alpine elevations, in many environmental conditions, and can grow on almost any surface.
Different kinds of lichens have adapted to survive in some of the most extreme environments on Earth: arctic tundra, hot dry deserts, rocky coasts, and toxic slag heaps.
They can even live inside solid rock, growing between the grains.
Clay minerals have been found in a variety of geological settings on Mars, using both robotic and remote sensing exploration, and they are common in meteorites of a wide range of origins.
Among other reasons, clay minerals are important in planetary and meteoritic investigation because they provide means to assess past environmental conditions, which is also important in relation to extraterrestrial life, due to their connection with water.
Many photographs on this website are also from this book.
Recent perspectives on lichens include that they are relatively self-contained miniature ecosystems in and of themselves, possibly with more microorganisms living with the fungi, algae, or cyanobacteria, performing other functions as partners in a system that evolves as an even more complex composite organism (holobiont).
Factors influencing the occurrence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas.
Selection of inoculant vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In: Norris JR, Read DJ, Varma AK (eds) Methods in Microbiology.
The combined lichen has properties different from those of its component organisms. The properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants.
Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose), flat leaf-like structures (foliose), flakes that lie on the surface like peeling paint (crustose), Common names for lichens may contain the word "moss" (e.g., "Reindeer moss", "Iceland moss"), and lichens may superficially look like and grow with mosses, but lichens are not related to mosses or any plant.