Review on Related Literature

World Status There are about 13,500 lichen species that has been named. Of these, 12,500 lichen species have green alga as a photobiont and about 1,000 lichens species are associated with a cyanobacterium. Almost 40 genera of eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria have been reported as lichen photobionts and their morphological diversity has been reviewed recently. Lichens occur in all major ecosystems apart from the deep sea. Globally, lichens play an important biogeochemical role in nutrient and trace element cycling, in soil formation processes and rock weathering (Seckbach 2002). The lichen group is polyphyletic and appeared on earth at different times during evolution. The first lichens probably developed around 440 million years ago, and preceded even the first plants (Willis & McElwain, 2002). Lichens are the most successful symbiotic organisms in nature, dominating 8% or more of the earth‟s terrestrial area (Ahmadjian 1995). With its share of just 2×4% of global land surface, India is a rich centre of lichen diversity, contributing nearly 15% of the 13,500 species of lichens so far recorded in the world (Upreti 1998). Since then, they have colonized almost all habitats and extreme conditions, from epiphytic (growing on trees) to endolithic (growing under the surface of rocks), and from Antarctica to the highest mountains and sea shores (Nash III, 1996a). Philippine Status General Definition Lichens are formed by symbiotic association between fungi and algae. Lichens can also be the symbiotic association between fungi and cyanobacteria. The fungal partner in the lichen association is the "mycobiont", and cyanobacterial (or algal) partner is called the "photobiont", Lichens are known to be excellent biological indicators of environmental changes because of their special properties. Some naturalists in the early nineteenth century saw that there was a link between the sparseness of lichens in towns and air pollution. Some species of lichens cannot thrive in polluted air, so they are only found in cleaner air outside of towns and cities. Since in the 1960s, lichens have been used more fully in biological monitoring of air pollutants like sulphur dioxide. Lichen structures growing on forest trees and the lichens surviving on rocks can be very old, sometimes even million years old. For example, in recent years, researchers have identified lichen as old as 600 million years through analysis of fossil and phylogenetic data. (Morris and Purvis, 2007) There are three major types of lichen, the fruticose type in which the lichen thallus is attached to the substratum at a single point and forms a complex branched structure, the foliose type that comprises a series of radially arranged leaf-like lobes, and the crustose type that is tightly attached to the substratum. The foliose and crustose types of lichen grow radially over the substratum rather like a fungus on an agar plate but growth rates are very slow. (Smith, 1929)

Lichens grow very, very slowly. Some are said to be flat, gray-green, crust-like plants. A few are bright yellow or orange. Other lichens are low upright plants with branch-like growths. One, called “Reindeer Moss", forms a thick carpet in the arctic tundra. Another, called "Old Man's Beard", hangs in tufts of gray-green threads from the limbs of spruces in our northern forests. But most of them are very small; gray- green or black. Many are oddly beautiful when

studied under a hand lens, resembling miniature forests of dead trees. A lichen called the "British Soldier", has tiny stalks capped with scarlet. Of about 10,000 species, most are bitter and inedible due to the acids they produce, but "Iceland Moss" can be used in soups, and the manna of the Israelites was the lichen of Africa and Asia that the desert tribes grind into meal for bread. Lichens were used by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews, and are still used as a source of brown, blue and purple dyes. They are the pioneers of the plant world, the first living things to colonize barren earth or a rocky area. First come lichens, then moss, then grass and other flowering plants, and finally forest vegetation. Without lichens, much of the earth today might be as bare and lifeless as it was hundreds of millions of years ago. ( Lichen‟s reproductive and dispersal mechanisms is one of the most discussed factors affecting their occurrence and distribution in forests. Lichens disperse by two main strategies, namely sexual and asexual (or vegetative). In sexual dispersal, the fungus reproduces and disperses alone and depends on the presence of an algae or a cyanobacterium to form a new thallus. In asexual dispersal, propagules contain both photobiont and mycobiont; these propagules can be soredia, isidia or thallus fragments (Nash III, 1996a). For some lichen species it has been proved that dispersal is the main limiting factor (Sillett et al., 2000). Furthermore, experiments have shown that vegetative diaspores of some species establish indistinctly in young or old-growth forest (Sillett et al., 2000).

Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles Darwin, observed in the 19th century in England that lichens were sensitive to air pollution, and deterioration of the lichen flora around London during the industrial revolution was noted by several English botanists (Hawks-worth and McManus 1989). Similarly, the lichen flora of southern Sweden, which suffers from acid precipitation from heavy industrial activity in northern Europe, declined markedly in species diversity and biomass over several decades (Arup et al. 1989).Some species of lichens are very sensitive to air pollutants. Consequently, urban environments are often highly impoverished in lichen species. Some ecologists have developed schemes by which the intensity of air pollution can be reliably assayed or monitored using the biological responses of lichens in their communities. A study has been done to evaluate the air pollution status by means of lichen through the biochemical variability of three macro environment (semiurban area Arambagh, urban area Burdwan and industrial area Durgapur). The study results revealed that there exist inverse relationship between pollutant load and pigment content (chlorophyll and carotenoid content). Average concentration of chlorophyll „a‟, „b‟, and total chlorophyll was found in following order, Site-II>Site-III>Site-I. From the result of Chlorophyll Stability Index (CSI) it has been found that the chlorophyll degradation is highest in Site-II followed by Site-III and lowest in Site-I. There is a strong inverse relationship of chlorophyll content in lichen with SO2 and NOx but the level of SPM found highest in Site-I followed by Site-III and lowest in Site-II. Moreover, biochemical constituents (protein, sugar, phenol and proline) of all the representative samples were also vary from site to site. The study results reveal that the amount of soluble sugar was highest recorded at Site-III followed by Site–I and lowest in Site-II. (Das et al. 2011)

World Studies/Research Lichen species vary greatly in their tolerance of severe environmental conditions. Lichens generally respond to environmental extremes by becoming dormant, and then quickly becoming metabolically active again when they experience more benign conditions.( Oksanen, 2006) In 2008, scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) sent a suitcase-sized Expose-E experiment package to the International Space Station (ISS) filled with organic compounds and living organisms to test their reaction to outer space. The samples returned to Earth in 2009. Lichen have proven to be tough cookies – back on Earth, some species continue to grow normally. ESA‟s Rene Demets explains: “These organisms go into a dormant state waiting for better conditions to arrive.” ( Ecologists have launched a campaign to protect internationally important lichens at a national park. Tycanol National Nature Reserve in Pembrokeshire is one of just six sites in Wales where the protected species grows. But because it requires open, light conditions to thrive, park managers need to fell trees to protect it. Around 400 species of lichen, which is a cross between a fungus and algae, grow in the reserve. The site is designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), NNR (National Nature Reserve) and SAC (Special Area of Conservation). Many lichens have been used medicinally across the world. A lichen's usefulness as a medicine is often related to the lichen secondary compounds that are abundant in most lichen thalli. Different lichens produce a wide variety of these compounds, most of which are unique to lichens and many of which are antibiotic. It has been estimated that 50% of all lichen species have antibiotic properties (Richardson, 1974). A laboratory study has found that lichens on Wisconsin's landscape break down the infectious proteins that are responsible for causing chronic wasting disease, or CWD - the devastating neurological disorder that was discovered in Wisconsin's wild deer population in 2002. The study by researchers at a federal government animal health laboratory in Wisconsin showed that certain lichen organisms contain an enzyme that is capable of degrading prions. Prions are an infectious agent responsible for causing CWD. They are notoriously difficult to destroy. The study by scientists at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison was published May 11 in the online scientific journal PLoS One. (Bergquist of Journal Sentinel, 2011,) Another lichen known as “lumot niyog”, Usnea montagnei motyka that is claimed to have medicinal value was studied by Patrocinio Sevilla-Santos (unpublished). The thallus of the said lichen possessed antibiotic activity and inhibits the gram-positive Micrococcus pyogenes aureus. The gram negative test fungi were not inhibited.( Santos, 1965) Lichens have been used for many things by both animals and humans. They provide forage, shelter, and building materials for various organisms. Unlike some plants, lichens are not
poisonous or are far less poisonous and therefore are more suitable for human use. According to recent studies, lichens are an extraordinary source of nutrients, dietetics and medicines (Gulcin et al. 2002). Not

all lichens though are edible, and in fact, some can be poisonous. For example, the wolf lichen got its name because it was used in Europe to poison wolves. Of course, the broken glass mixed with the lichens might have had something to do with it. Some Native American tribes used wolf lichen for poisoned arrowheads, yet other tribes made tea out of it. During 2002-2005, research has been conducted within eastern Bosnia, on the use of lichens and their effect on people‟s survival in war shelters and on isolated guerilla fighters in the area during the war in Bosnia and

Herzegovina (1992-95). 51 adults have been contacted for this research. Using the method of “ethnobotanical” interview, 7 species of lichens were used by interviewees during the siege. The most used lichens were Evernia prunastri (oak lichen) and Usnea sp. (Old Man‟s Beard), used for porridge and for lichen flour. (Bosnia et. al) A poisonous lichen, Parmelia molliuscula (also known as "ground lichen"), was determined to be the cause of death for 300 elk in Wyoming in 2004. Visiting elk from Colorado ate this lichen, which caused tissue decay and eventual death. The native elk were not affected, simply because their immune systems were already equipped to deal with this toxic lichen. This is another example of wildlife and plant life evolving with each other. This lichen has also been known to poison sheep and cattle. (Turner, 2009)

Lichens are said to be diversed in a more multifaceted habitat. Old forests are structurally more complex and so contain greater epiphytic lichen biomass than young forests, and many epiphytic species are closely associated with old-growth (Dettki & Esseen, 1998). Temperate forests are ecosystems with complex dynamics that contain a great variety of habitats for different species. Most temperate forests are under disturbance regimes such as gap dynamics or large-scale disturbances. Successional changes in the host forest produce differences in lichen habitats, such as changes in light penetration, and host tree bark characteristics (McCune & Antos, 1982). Throughout the world, biological inventories occasionally reveal areas where undescribed species come to light, sometimes several at a time. These hotspots of biodiversity, often discovered in dense, remote, tropical rain forests, are hailed as landmark discoveries. The 2007-2008 there was a lichen inventory at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. In the park‟s first intensive lichen inventory, at least 766 taxa of lichenized and lichenicolous fungi were detected. In an area of only 13,000 acres, this represents one of the largest numbers of lichens per unit area ever reported and the largest number of lichen species reported from any national park. Samples of lichen-covered and bare lava surfaces from Lanzarote, dating from the 1730– 1736 eruption, have been analysed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to investigate the relative roles of biological and inorganic weathering processes. Lichens here grow preferentially on N and NE facing surfaces and create a range of nanomorphological features as a consequence of their weathering activities. The fruticose lichen Stereocaulon vesuvianum and a mixture of crustose lichen species are found to be particularly effective agents of weathering. Comparison of the thickness of the weathering rind on bare and lichen-covered samples (mean thickness 15.7 and 253.9 μm, respectively) shows a significant difference at the 99% confidence level. Following previous studies in Hawaii by Jackson and Keller [Am. J. Sci. 269 (1970) 466], these results are used to suggest that lichens on Lanzarote lava flows cause a 16 times increase in weathering rates over those found on bare surfaces. Comparison of these results with those from similar lava flows in Hawaii indicates that under the wetter climate of Hawaii both biological and inorganic rates are over double those found in Lanzarote. (R.C Stretch, H.A Viles, 2001) Philippine Studies In the 1990s, literatures identifying pollution tolerant lichens have started to proliferate. In Europe, a lichen known as Lecanora conizaeoides hit the limelight by being recognized as a pollution tolerant lichen against sulfur dioxide, one of the most notorious atmospheric pollutants.

However in Asia, there was no specific pollution tolerant lichen that can be used to gauge the environment‟s air pollution index. Therefore, in the present study, growth of lichens common in an urban area in the Philippines, were examined. A foliose lichen known as Pyxine cocoes (Swartz) Nyl. (Physciaceae) was identified to be the most abundant common species in the busy district parks of the Iloilo city including a church yard. This species is recommended as a possible bioindicator for atmospheric pollution. Six years after this report, W. Gruezo a lichenologist from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and his team reported the ubiquitousness and abundance of P. cocoes. Their study area spanned four Metro Manila sites and two sites near and around coal fired power plants where they concluded that the lichen P. cocoes as being abundant and ubiquitous in all their six study sites. Hence they considered it as potential biomonitor for atmospheric pollution after analyzing the samples for several air pollution related elements using x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. This finding has supported the first pioneering report of the present author in 2003 in the Philippines regarding the common abundance of this lichen and its usefulness in determining atmospheric pollution. (Isidro T. Savillo, 2009)

Yuan, X., Xiao, S.,and Taylor T.N.(2005). Lichen-like symbiosis 600 million years ago. Science 308,1017-1020. Erickson,W.N.,and Mann, R.(November 15,1947).Forest preserve district of Cook county (Illinois).

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.