Algae and fungi relationship

Fungi Symbiosis ( Read ) | Biology | CK Foundation

algae and fungi relationship

Mutualistic Relationships Between Algae and Fungi. (Excluding Lichens). Hartmut Gimmler. "Where are all the undescribed fungi?" Hawksworth and Rossman. The tiny lichen is a critical part of the food chain, but how do algae and fungi work together to form these symbiotic organisms?. Interactions between fungi and green algae have already been described for the Devonian period (Taylor et al. ). Associations reach their highest level in.

Both gravestones have become colonized by lichens and are now difficult to read. Click on the photograph to get an enlarged version of Roland's gravestone Another interesting thing about our coastal lichens is that some of them are highly tolerant of salt, a substance that is toxic to most fungi, including lichenized ones.

algae and fungi relationship

The picture at right depicts some coastal rocks on the Bay of Fundy near Saint John. At the bottom of the picture are bunches of brown algae, mostly Fucus vesiculosus and Ascophyllum nodosum, commonly called rockweed. These rockweeds grow in areas along the shore where they will be immersed in seawater, at least at high tide. At the very top of the rock is a patch of orange, probably Xanthoria parietina. In between is a black zone consisting of the custose lichen Hydropunctaria maura. Hydropunctaria maura can grow where it is periodically immersed in seawater but is also able to grow in an area just above that where it receives only splash from waves.

This "black zone" occupies an area that often goes for days or even weeks without immersion in seawater but will eventually get splashed. This is a tough place to live: Just the place for a lichen! The picture at right depicts yet another species of Verrucaria mucosa, a close relative of H.

In fact, it releases its ascospores when it is above the water and thus depends upon being exposed to air. However, it does not grow in the upper areas of the tide like H. In the picture V. On parts of the rock that have dried it is harder to see but you may notice that it is slightly green, revealing the presence of the photobiont.

The red spots are the alga Hildenbrandia polytypa, similar is size and growth habit to V. The last picture again shows Verrucaria mucosa, this time growing under water at high tide. Note that even this lichen has its limits; most of the rocks in the picture have no lichens at all. This may be because the rocks are too small and may be moved by currents as the tide ebbs and flows or it may be that their surfaces are unsuitable for lichens. Another problem that lichens face is being eaten by animals.

Many contain acids and other compounds that make them unpalatable to animals but V.

algae and fungi relationship

Notice the large rock above the one with lichens on it. On its surface is a small snail called a periwinkle. Some periwinkles, notably the rough periwinkle, eat V. This has not happened here yet but there are in fact several periwinkles present, as well as the white barnacles and a mussel.

How many periwinkles are here? Not many at first glance, but you might be surprised. Click on the picture to get an enlarged view and see how many periwinkles you can count. One of the more intriguing mutualisms found in our region is the one between the brown alga Ascophyllum nodosum and the fungus Mycophycias ascophylli.

algae and fungi relationship

Ascophyllum nodosum, commonly called rockweed, occurs in the intertidal zone where it is left exposed to the air when the tide goes out. Mycophycias ascophylli, a member of the lichen-forming order of fungi Verrucarialesgrows within the body thallus of A. In return the fungus has access to carbohydrates and other nutrients within its protective environment. Garbary and colleagues at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia have studied this mutualism in detail and have shown that the fungus not only forms relationships with the rockweed but also seems to form a mutualism with Polysiphonia lanosa, a common epiphyte found attached to the A.

At far left is a thallus of A. You may wish to look further back on this page to see the habitat photo of A. The next picture shows a detail from the first panel. The small almond-shaped structures along the stem are receptacles. Each receptacle bears a number of conceptacles, structures that release sperm and egg into the ocean each spring. These are seen as bumpy areas in the second photo but in the third more highly magnified panel they can be seen more easily and reveal the pores through which the sperm and egg escape.

The next panel is even further magnified and the conceptacles are even clearer.

Mutualisms between fungi and algae

In this panel it is also possible to see tiny black dots, resembling grains of pepper; these are the perithecia fruiting bodies of Mycophycias ascophylli. The blue box drawn on around one of these leads to the next photograph, taken with a compound microscope, showing a detailed view of one perithecium partially submerged in the receptacle.

The perithecia contain asci and ascospores. The last panel shows one ascus containing eight 2-celled ascospores. The ascospores are not very clear in this picture but are nevertheless nearly mature. In our region Ascophyllum nodosum releases its sperm and eggs in late May. On a warm day at low tide these tiny cells ooze out of the conceptacles like toothpaste out of a tube.

When the tide comes in they are released into the water. The sperm, released in numbers large enough to colour the water orange, swim activly in search of eggs and attach to them when they find one.

Eggs can be observed spinning wildly, powered by hundreds of sperm attached to their surface. Finally one sperm succeeds in fertilizing the egg, which then sinks to the bottom to grow into a new plant. At the same time sperm and eggs are being released the asci of Mycophycias ascophylli shoot their spores into the air. It is likely that these spores are able to colonize the newly developing plants but the details of this stage of development are still not very well understood. The orange colour in the water caused by massive numbers of sperm and eggs could be mistaked for a toxic "red tide", but that is a completely unrelated phenomenon.

Most biologists accept Dr. The alga or cyanobacterim bears its own scientific name, which bears no relationship to either the name of the lichen or the fungus. The fungal partner may be an Ascomycete or Basidiomycete. Next to the Ascomycota, the largest number of lichenized fungi occur in the unassigned fungi imperfecti.

Comparatively few Basidiomycetes are lichenized, but these include agaricssuch as species of Lichenomphaliaclavarioid fungisuch as species of Multiclavulaand corticioid fungisuch as species of Dictyonema.

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Other lichen fungi occur in only five orders in which all members are engaged in this habit Orders GraphidalesGyalectalesPeltigeralesPertusarialesand Teloschistales. Lichenized and nonlichenized fungi can even be found in the same genus or species.

MUTUALISMS BETWEEN FUNGI AND ALGAE

TrebouxiophyceaePhaeophyceaeChlorophyceae have been found to associate with the lichen-forming fungi. One fungus, for example, can form lichens with a variety of different algae. The thalli produced by a given fungal symbiont with its differing partners will be similar, and the secondary metabolites identical, indicating that the fungus has the dominant role in determining the morphology of the lichen. Further, the same algal species can occur in association with different fungal partners.

Lichens are known in which there is one fungus associated with two or even three algal species. Rarely, the reverse can occur, and two or more fungal species can interact to form the same lichen.