Mutualistic Relationships Between Algae and Fungi (Excluding Lichens)

  • Hartmut Gimmler
Part of the Progress in Botany book series (BOTANY, volume 62)


Mutualistic associations of microbes are widespread in nature, particularly in aquatic habitats. In such associations, two (or more) systematically distinct organisms mutually benefit from exchanges of food, protection, habitat or transport (Duchateau-Nguyen et al. 1995). The evolution of phototrophs featured the repeated emergence of mutualistic associations with fungi (Selosse and Le Tacon 1995). For example, Cyanophyta are involved in lichens, Rhodophyta and Chromophyta form some mycophycobioses, and Chlorophyta interacted during evolution repeatedly with fungi in the form of lichens or mycophycobioses. Interactions between fungi and green algae have already been described for the Devonian period (Taylor et al. 1992). Associations reach their highest level in the form of lichens or endosymbioses (Reisser 1992a; Hawksworth 1994; Kappen 1994). In lichens, unicellular algae (or cyanobacteria) are in direct contact with fungi. Both symbiotic partners form well-defined structural and functional units. The lichen lifestyle is found in various representatives of Dicaryomycotina. Analysis of small-subunit ribosomal DNA suggests at least five independent origins of lichens in distinct groups of Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes (Gargas et al. 1995).


Mutualistic Relationship Euglena Gracilis Mutualistic Association Proteose Peptone Vitamin Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hartmut Gimmler
    • 1
  1. 1.Julius-von-Sachs-Institut für Biowissenschaften, Lehrstuhl Botanik IUniversität WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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