The mycobiont role in crustose lichen expansion on cobbles in the Negev Desert

Giora J. Kidron, Marina Temina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whereas the role of the photobiont within microlichen symbiosis is indisputable, the role of the mycobiont in the symbiosis is still questionable. Here we report a unique expansion of the endolithic lichen Caloplaca alociza on cobbles in the Negev Desert due to structural change induced by the mycobiont burrowing activity. By increasing the water-holding capacity of the rock it facilitates lichen expansion from the cobble margins (where they establish due to water capillary rise) to its sides. And thus, while rare at the cobble top, lichen expansion is taking place to the sides of the cobble albeit the fact that dew (the main water source) is significantly lower at the cobble sides than at its top.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-100
Number of pages6
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by grant 1358/04 of the Israel Science Foundation (ISF). We kindly thank Tamara Shalev for the SEM photographs, Shimon Tal for his valuable technical assistance, and Carol A. Kidron for the editing.


  • Cobble
  • Dew
  • Fungi
  • Lichen colonization
  • Negev Desert

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Environmental Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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