How do the fungi of Antarctica live?

lichen in antarctica

A fungus forms a 'friendship' for food. Most Antarctic fungi lack chlorophyll, the pigment essential for making food from sunlight. Therefore, the fungus forms a friendship with an alga or a blue green bacterium. This combination is known as lichen. A lichen is symbiotic both the partners benefit. The fungus draws essential trace chemicals from the surface of the rock.

The alga or the blue green bacteria is able to photosynthesize food, that is make food from sunlight. They give and take, making life possible for both, but they grow very slowly indeed. Some lichens take ten years to grow one millimeter! Around two hundred and fifty species of lichens have been discovered in Antarctica. Most lichens are colorful and they have pretty colorful names too. Burnt- orange lichen, Brown lichen are some of the more colorful ones.

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