Accretion

2016-06-05 22.41.01-1

This doodle from May had architectural elements in its origins.  When I found it again, I was put in mind of lichens, colonising bare surfaces, the fungal element of the symbiosis providing anchorage and liberating nutrients, the algal or cyanobacterial component extracting energy from sunlight.  I thought I might say something clever about lichens, but found that understanding something of this ancient and tenacious lifeform would indeed be a lifetime’s work.  My attention had been attracted because, after more than a century of description and scientific enquiry, including by illustrator Beatrix Potter, this week comes the surprise news that lichens comprise not two but three partners: the presence of a second fungal partner may, for example, condition the production of toxins in otherwise identical species.

5 responses to “Accretion

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