Lichens anyone?

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Mon Feb 3 14:02:33 EST 1997

I am forwarding this interesting reply to a question
posed about lichens and taxonomy on another group.
The original question was something like "to what
taxonomic group should lichens be assigned?"  I
thought Fred's reply was excellent.


>X-Received: MTU Resend v1.1 for bryonet-l
>Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 07:03:55 -0800 (PST)
>From: Fred Rhoades <fredr at>
>Cc: bryonet-l at
>Subject: Re: Lichens anyone?
>Mime-Version: 1.0
>Precedence: list
>Reply-To: bryonet-l at
>Prof. Williams,
>  Do check out the Web site Sherry Pittam suggests for lots of
>information on lichens.  But to answer your specific question,
>  Lichens are one of a variety of "ways of life" that fungi have taken on
>with other organisms (another example of a way of life common to many
>fungi is mycorrhiza formation).  Since lichens combine a fungus (which by
>international agreement is what gives the lichen its scientific name) with
>one or more photosynthetic partners it would be bad enough to try and
>classify them precisely in "a group".  Again, by international agreement,
>each lichen is classified according to the characteristics of its fungal
>partner.  Most lichen fungi are Ascomycetes (there are a few
>Basidiomycete lichens) and as many as 18 independent orders of fungi have
>"lichenized" members.  The algal and bluegreen bacterial partners of
>lichens are classified among their own relations in those groups.  By the
>way, you may find in older (and less authoritative current texts) that
>lichens are classified in a single group (the Mycophycophyta or some
>such):  this is a classification of convenience and to provide a more
>simply understandable view for first introducing students to these
>facinating "organisms".
>Fred Rhoades, Research Associate
>Biology Department, WWU
>Bellingham, WA  98225
>FAX: (360) 650-3148
>Voice: (360) 733-9149
>email: fredr at

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