Lichen Habitat

Lichens are a collaboration of fungi and algae growing in a symbiotic relationship. Each component provides the other with what it cannot produce on its own. The fungus offers structure while the alga provides the mechanisms for photosynthesis. Lichens can be used to date the age of the surface it has colonized. Some species have been estimated to be more than 9,000 years old, making them among the oldest living things on Earth. Extremely sensitive to air pollution, the Arctic Refuge provides habitat for robust lichen communities.


Image © 1994 by Douglas Yates

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