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Jill Buckmiller BIOL 1615 4:00 p.m.

Lata Moses, Instructor

Summary of Scientific Article In Situ Development of the Foliiculous Lichen Phyllophiale (Trichotheliaceae) from Propagule Germination to Propagule Production By William B. Sanders In American Journal of Botany 89(11): 1741-1746, 2002 Introduction Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between a species of algae and a species of fungus. Very little study has been done on the life cycle of lichens and there is much to learn. It is hard to study lichen in the laboratory because they dont usually live long enough to observe them from the genesis of a new colony forward through its life-cycle. Also, it is questionable whether or not lichen grow and respond to stimuli in the lab the same as they do in nature. The main focus of this article is to introduce a unique way of studying a specific lichen, Phyllophiale, in order to learn the relationship between the two symbionts, and to see if the alga component, Phycopeltis, has a greater impact on the shape and growth of the lichen than other types of lichen, since it commonly occurs living on its own. Materials and Methods The lichen, Phyllophiale, lives on the leaves of Bactris, a palm near Recife, Brazil. These leaves often have colonies of Phyllophiale. The technique used involves sewing 3-4 cm wide and 20-35

cm long pieces of mesh onto these leaves. Then, plastic cover slips were inserted into slits in the mesh. Every 3-4 weeks, several cover slips were removed and examined with a light microscope. Since there are three different types of lichen that are common in this area, the first step was to try to distinguish between them at the earliest stages of development. Results Within 3 weeks, growth of lichen was observed using a light microscope. It grew in a single, flattened layer on the cover slips in a radial pattern. Both algal and fungal components of the lichen were observed. Success varied, as some of the lichens deteriorated and died. On some slips, the algal component, Phycopeltis, grew without its symbiont. However, many specimens thrived, with both fungal and algal components visible. After a period of 5-6 months, isidia, the globular, vegetative propagule structures at the tips of the thalli (branches of the lichen) were observed, completing the life-cycle of the Phyllophiale. Discussion In Phyllophiale, the isidia are a very efficient and effective means of germinating new organisms asexually. Unlike previously believed, the isidia germinated into a new thallus, without going through a reorganizational stage. In addition, Phycopeltis reproduced sexually as well as asexually, as flagellated cells, that swam free of the thallus were observed. These algal cells were reproducing independent of their fungal symbionts. Unlike other studied lichen, the fungal component of Phyllophiale do not appear to always contain the algal component within their hyphae. If the fungal component is degenerating, Phycopeltis can break free and live on their own.

Finally, unlike other lichen, whose fungal symbiont is dominant, the algal symbiont of Phyllophiale is dominant. The only contribution of the fungus is a thin covering of hyphae.

Conclusion The algal component, Phycopeltis, does indeed affect the growth, shape and development of Phyllophiale. Unlike other lichen, the algal component is dominant in the relationship and can live freely. The fungal component is merely a thin covering for the alga. Through the unique technique of using mesh on leaves with plastic cover slips, much has been learned about the growth of Phyllophiale from germination to propagule development. Although there is still much to be learned, this study gives us a piece of the puzzle in the knowledge of the symbiotic relationship between organisms of two different kingdoms.

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