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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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Lichens: A Closer Look

  • Lichens are a composite organism made of a fungus with algae and/or cyanobacteria, they can live almost anywhere, and they’re related to APES in many ways
  • Forms of lichens include crustose, foliose, fruticose, etc. and they come in a wide variety of colors
  • Lichens are symbiotic (and could be considered mutualism, commensalism, or parasitism)!
  • Lichen reproduction is generally asexual but the fungal part can reproduce sexually. There are spore-containing bodies that grow from the thalli
  • Lichens get energy through photosynthesis, and they also soak up water and mineral from the environment. They have an incredible temperature tolerance. Organisms that are known to eat lichens include ruminants and millipedes
  • Lichens are efficient accumulators of minerals and could be used to monitor pollution levels in the atmosphere
  • Their absorptive abilities also have been use to locate ore deposits. They also can be dependent on old-growth forests
  • Human have used lichens for food, clothing, dyes, perfumes, and medicines/poisons

Lichens: A Closer Look

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lichen Intro 0:05
    • Composite Organism from a Symbiotic Relationship
    • Thousands of Species
    • Can Live Anywhere
    • Found from Sea Level to Alpine Environments
    • Not Moss
    • Related to Environmental Science in Many Ways
  • Various Forms of Lichen 5:48
    • Categorized Based on Growth
    • Wide Variety of Colors
    • Range of Forms
  • Symbiosis: Not a Traditional Mutualism 8:08
    • 'Lichens are Fungi That Have Discovered Agriculture'
    • Mutualism
    • Some Lichens Live on Other Lichens
  • Reproduction of Lichens 12:24
    • Reproduction is Generally Asexual
    • Fungal Part Can Reproduce Sexually
    • Spore-Containing Bodies Grow from the Thallus
  • Energy Use of Lichens 13:57
    • Photobiont
    • Water
    • Temperature
    • Minerals
    • What Eats Lichens?
  • Lichens in North American Biomes 18:04
    • Arctic/ Alpine Region
    • Boreal Region
    • Temperate Region
    • Madrean
    • Tropical
    • Desert
  • Response to the Environment 24:30
    • Lichens are Efficient Accumulators of Minerals
    • Absorbed from the Atmosphere and Soil
    • Pollution Monitors
    • Transplants Programs
    • Ability to Absorb Metals Can Potentially Indicate Where Ore is Located
    • Some Lichens are Restricted to Old Growth Forests, With Undisturbed Growth
  • Human Use of Lichens 32:12
    • Exceptions
    • Clothing
    • Dyes
    • Perfumes
    • Medicines