You’ve likely seen lichens and didn’t even know it! A lichen looks like moss but is actually an algae and a fungus living together in a symbiotic association advantageous to both organisms. The fungus forms an outer layer that protects the algae beneath from drying out and shields it from harmful amounts of light. In return, the fungus supplies the algae with essential minerals, such as nitrogen.
More fun facts about lichens:
● The color of lichen is determined by the alga it contains.
● Lichens absorb everything around them like air, water, pollutants and nutrients.
● Lichen can grow on a variety of things, including rocks, trees, houses, soil, even sand dunes.
● There are believed to be more than 3,600 species of lichen in North America.