The Lichenologist – Matthew Killip (2017)

This is the second installment from the filmmaker Matthew Killip following the “-omist/ogist” theme.

Evolution of cooperation is a curious subject for biologists. The evolution of cooperation is investigated within the framework of game theory and has been encapsulated in a 1987 BBC documentary called “Nice Guys Finish First” by Richard Dawkins. How do organisms belonging to different kingdoms coordinate to live together? What are the rules of symbiosis? Lichens provide this type of study system where algae and fungi flourish together.

Recently, a third partner was discovered in the lichen symbiosis that shook our established belief for more than 150 years. This unexpected partner is a yeast. The visualization below shows a three dimentional representation of a fluorescently labeled thallus of the horsehair lichen Bryoria capillaris. Cyphobasidiales (basidiomycete) yeasts are painted in green, lecanoromycete (ascomycete) filamentous fungi are painted in purple, and algae (Trebouxia simplex) are painted in red.

Yeast as a Third Partner in Lichen Symbiosis from Nature Documentaries on Vimeo.

 

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