Wednesday 10th of June 2020, 05:20 PM (3 years ago)
Contact: Allison Knight
Speaker: Dr Allison Knight, Research Associate, Department of Botany.
The lichen symbiosis is extraordinary, intertwining organisims from two or even 3 distantly related kingdoms. Lichenised fungi are extremophiles, capable of living in environments well beyond the range of vascular plants. Some can even survive days or years exposed to the vacuum, radiation and temperature extremes of outer space! Intriguingly, lichens are very sensitive indicators of air pollution and can also be useful indicators of climate change. On the lighter side, the Sexy Pavement Lichen grows on the asphalt outside the Botany Department, and covers footpaths and roads all over New Zealand. It has been exploited by the unscrupulous, enticed the gullible and recently caused a global media frenzy.