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Keywords:

  • Lichen symbiosis;
  • pre-thallus;
  • symbiotic phenotype;
  • functional morphology;
  • growth patterns

SUMMARY

Lichen-forming fungi are a large, taxonomically diverse group of nutritional specialists which acquire fixed carbon from a population of minute green algal or cyanobacterial cells. Mycobionts of foliose or fruticose lichens differ from the rest of the fungi by expressing morphologically and anatomically complex symbiotic phenotypes. The extracellularly located photobiont cell population of these macrolichens is housed and controlled by the quantitatively predominant fungal partner which competes for space above ground, secures adequate illumination and facilitates gas exchange. This review summarizes data on the ontogeny, functional morphology, growth patterns and internal thalline differentiation of macrolichens.