How do algae benefit lichens?

Symbiotic relationship in lichens.

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Role of algae in lichens:

  1. Lichens are the product of mutualistic symbiosis, where each partner involved in the association derives something essential for its survival.
  2. The algal partner or cyanobacterium (Phycobiont) provides the fungi with food, especially carbohydrates produced in photosynthesis, and possibly with vitamins.
  3. The fungi absorbs, stores and supplies water and minerals required by the algae.
  4. It also provides carbon dioxide which is an essential factor needed for photosynthesis by the algal cells.
  5. The fungi provide a moist, sheltered supporting framework for the photosynthetic algal partner.
  6. The fungi is able to derive nourishment from its partner by means of small root like projections called haustoria which penetrate the algal cell.
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