A large group of symbiotic associations between fungi and green and occasionally blue green algae. Several genera of algae and of fungi are involved and the associations are so stable and of such varied but distinct types that the lichens have been classified into genera and species. A variety of incompatibility phenomena are often manifest between individual lichens. Confined to terrestrial habitats and often used as indicators of pollution status of the environment.

This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology

(11 Mar 2008)