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Lichens under fluorescent light, with permission of Dr. Robert Lücking.

Lichens are symbiotic organisms that embody a mutually beneficial relationship between disparate entities. Not plants, lichens are specialized fungi inhabited by a photosynthetic partner that is either an alga or a colony of cynobacteria; in their diversity they may inhabit terrains where little else thrives and are models of nurturing and resourceful collaboration across differences.