SEM of the lichen Xanthoria parietina

SEM of the lichen Xanthoria parietina

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: False colour scanning electron micrograph of the lichen Xanthoria parietina, showing a fruiting body or apothecium (spore bearing), growing out of the thallus (vegetative part). Lichens are symbiotic organisms, consisting of an algal & a fungal partner. The fungus benefits from the photosynthetic activity of the alga. The advantage to the alga, although not clear, may lie in protection from drought & intense light. Slow growing organisms (1-2mm per year), they live to immense ages, colonising tree trunks, soil, rock, & mortar. Lichens are sensitive to sulphur dioxide & hence used to monitor air pollution. Magnification: X31 at 35mm size. Original is bw print B350/005.

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Keywords: air pollution, apothecium, botany, dye, lichen, lichens, mutualism, nature, plant, symbiosis, symbiotic, thallus, xanthoria parietina

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