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3 - Mycobionts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

R. Honegger
Affiliation:
Professor, Institute of Plant Biology University of Zürich Zollikerstrasse 107 CH-8008 Zürich Switzerland
Thomas H. Nash, III
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
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Summary

Lichen-forming fungi (also termed lichen mycobionts) are, like plant pathogens or mycorrhizal fungi, a polyphyletic, taxonomically heterogeneous group of nutritional specialists (Tables 3.1 and 3.2) but otherwise normal representatives of their fungal classes. Long after the discovery of the dual nature of lichens by Schwendener (1867; Honegger 2000) and his proposal to include lichens in fungi, most biologists and even the majority of lichenologists considered lichens as a group of organisms that differ so fundamentally from all others that they had to be treated as a separate group, e.g. as a phylum “Lichenes”; this term is nowadays obsolete. Even in the early twenty-first century, many scientists consider lichens as plants, thus ignoring the fact that species names of lichens refer to the fungal partner, fungi forming a separate kingdom. It is the heterotrophic mycobiont of morphologically advanced lichens that mimics plant-like structures. In this chapter the similarities and differences between lichen-forming and nonlichenized fungi are discussed at the phylogenetic, morphological and cytological levels and also with regard to different nutritional strategies.

Lichenized versus nonlichenized fungi

Lichenization: a successful nutritional strategy

Fungi, as heterotrophic organisms, have developed various nutritional strategies for acquiring fixed carbon (Table 3.1). Lichenization, i.e. the acquisition of fixed carbon from a population of minute, living algal and/or cyanobacterial cells, is a common and widespread mode of nutrition. One out of five fungal species is lichenized (Table 3.1). Some lichen-forming fungi belong to orders with uniform nutritional strategies; others belong to orders with diverse strategies (Table 3.1).

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Lichen Biology , pp. 27 - 39
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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  • Mycobionts
    • By R. Honegger, Professor, Institute of Plant Biology University of Zürich Zollikerstrasse 107 CH-8008 Zürich Switzerland
  • Edited by Thomas H. Nash, III, Arizona State University
  • Book: Lichen Biology
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511790478.004
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  • Mycobionts
    • By R. Honegger, Professor, Institute of Plant Biology University of Zürich Zollikerstrasse 107 CH-8008 Zürich Switzerland
  • Edited by Thomas H. Nash, III, Arizona State University
  • Book: Lichen Biology
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511790478.004
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Mycobionts
    • By R. Honegger, Professor, Institute of Plant Biology University of Zürich Zollikerstrasse 107 CH-8008 Zürich Switzerland
  • Edited by Thomas H. Nash, III, Arizona State University
  • Book: Lichen Biology
  • Online publication: 05 September 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511790478.004
Available formats
×