Marine lichen, Leconora, on rock

Marine lichen, Leconora, on rock

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Black Shields lichen. Close-up of the Black Shields lichen, Leconora atra, on a rock on a beach above the high tide mark. The lichen appears as a rounded grey crust which is cracked and warty. The spore-producing apothecia are embedded in the crust and form the characteristic black shield-like structures that give the lichen its name. Lichens are a composite organism made up of a fungus and an alga living together. The fungus provides a structure that prevents the alga from drying out. The photosynthetic alga provides food for the fungus in the form of carbohydrate. Photographed in North West Scotland.

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Keywords: apothecia, black shields, botany, leconora, leconora atra, lichen, lichens, marine, marine lichen, mutualism, nature, plant, symbiosis, symbiotic

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