Lichens are said to occupy an astounding 6% of the surface of Earth’s land mass, so pay attention. As you are well aware, lichens arise by the symbiotic interaction of fungi and algae (or sometimes cyanobacteria). And as you know, they consist of separate individuals of the two partners, each benefiting from the interaction.
When you've followed our posts on symbioses between animals and bacteria over the last two years or so, you could have easily got the impression that they occur mainly between insects and Gammaproteobacteria from the order Enterobacterales of this large and diverse phylum. This impression would be skewed but only because our choice of topics was!
by Lizah van der Aart
Last year, Gilles van Wezel and Changsheng Wu announced the discovery of a compound with a completely novel chemical backbone, Lugdunomycin. This is an exceptional feat as we hardly find compounds with completely novel chemical structures. This is even more incredible if you consider how it was found. Bacteria don't always...
Very high on the list of this world's vital symbioses are the mycorrhizae, the association of fungal filaments with plant rootlets. About 90% of all vascular plants (from ferns on up) possess them. They contribute greatly to the health of the plants, being a major source of nitrogen, salts, and water...
by Sumedha Ravishankar and Ian Robbins
Microbes facilitate untold biological processes, from digestion in the tiny gut of an insect to running our planet’s biogeochemical cycles. These microscopic beings truly are the quiet puppeteers of our lives. And it makes sense that they would be, since unicellular life has been on Earth for about 3.5 billion years,
The digestive system of animals can be wondrously complex. Think of our own, which consists of such diverse organs as the mouth, the esophagus, stomach, the small and large intestines, and the anus. Each one is responsible for a particular set of functions. Is such a division of labor also seen in "simpler" animals? This question was asked recently of wood-feeding beetles by a group of no less than 18 investigators from all over the US.