Northwest Lichenologists

Lichen algae on the outside?

  • 13 Feb 2019 9:10 PM
    Message # 7164798

    Hi everyone,

    I've been seeing something strange going on with Ramalina spp. after a recent fire in Sonoma Co, CA.  Some thalli, that appear to have been heat stressed but not completely toasted by the fire, have algae growing on them.  I uploaded 4 photos in the gallery today, looks like they didn't get photos numbers.  Can anyone help me figure out if this is a lichen photobiont?

    Photos:  1) isolated algae, ~12 microns diam, 2) cross section of Ramalina menziesii with external algae, 3) close-up of algae growing on slightly toasted piece of R. menziesii, and 4) habit shot of R. menziesii post fire showing healthy, algae-infested, and charred thalli.

  • 14 Feb 2019 7:53 AM
    Reply # 7165400 on 7164798
    Bruce McCune (Administrator)

    I have noticed a similar phenomenon when I transplant lichens to my back yard and they start to suffer after a year or two (for example, Usnea longissima, which normally wants cleaner air than Corvallis). I had figured that it might have to be with weakened vigor plus extra N input stimulating the algae, but I don't really know.

    There is also a possibility that some lichenization is going on there; see your closest photo of the algal cells where it looks like there might be much smaller hyaline (fungal?) cells attached to the outside of the algae. Some Scoliciosporum species have a thallus that pretty much looks like algae at first glance. 

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