Lichens, which are one of the most successful examples of symbiosis, being distributed in a great variety of habitats, containing a wide range of secondary products, not found in other organisms, are still poorly investigated. An array of modern experimental techniques will be used, including in vitro culturing of photobionts and mycobionts, resynthesis experiments, characterization and analysis of micro-satellite markers and analysis of secondary metabolites using TLC (thin-layer chromatography) and HPLC ( high performance liquid chromatography) methods. The results of experiments would provide completely novel data about patterns of genetic variation, selectivity of mycobiont in its photobiont choice and the mode of propagation of the common and ubiquitous lichen Protoparmeliopsis muralis. It would also be explored if the identity of a specific algal partner has any influence on the production of secondary metabolites. The expected results would contribute both to an understanding of lichen survival strategies and providing answers for basic questions in population genetics, such as what makes a symbiotic plant so successful in colonizing new habitats. Moreover, detailed information about colonization strategies of selected lichen species would be extraordinarily valuable to differentiate between common and rare species. The obtained data could be very useful for developing efficient conservation concepts for rare and threatened lichen species.
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