Thallus Organization and Functions in Lichens

Lichen thallus organization: Morphologically many types of thallus can be found among lichens and accordingly they are divided into subgroups namely;

Crustose lichen – Primitive flattened thallus body found firmly attached and mostly embedded to the substratum like soil, rock, or tree bark crusts. Examples include Lecidia, Graphis, etc.

Foliose lichen – Advanced thallus with a leaf-like flat dorsiventral structure; attached to their substratum using specialized rhizoid structure – rhizines; examples include Physcia, Collema.

Fruticose lichen – A well-developed and advanced thallus with internal structures; mostly cylindrical and branched into a shrub-like structure; attaches to the substratum with mucilaginous disc; examples include Usnea, Cladonia.

Function: Asexual reproduction in lichens is done using the thallus.

Thallus Organization and Functions in Algae:
In algae, thallus organization is broadly classified into unicellular and multicellular which are motile and non-motile.


Motile: Thallus with a single cell and flagella used for locomotion; shape-spherical, pear-shape, oblong; example– Chlamydomonas.

Non-motile: Thallus with a single cell which performs all essential functions; no flagella; example-Chlorella.

Multicellular: Colonies can be:

Non-motile: Colonies of coenobium thalli with numerous single cells without any flagella.

Motile: Colonies of coenobium thalli formed with numerous single cells; have flagella.

Amorphous (Palmelloid): Multiple non-motile cells in a mucilaginous amorphous matrix.

Dendroid: Tree-like microscopic structures; mucilaginous base.

Filamentous: Multiple cells arranged in filamentous arrangements like branched, unbranched, or pseudobranched.

Heterotrichous: Multicellular with many types of filaments.

Siphonous: Elongated thallus; no septation; coenocytic nuclei.

Pseudoparenchymatous: Uniaxialor multiaxial.

Parenchymatous: Cells with parenchyma.

Thallus Organization and Function in Fungi
The fungus species are divided into groups – Myxomycomata and Eumycomata.

The myxomycomata fungi include slime molds which have a thallus with a naked amoeboid-looking protoplasm mass called the plasmodium.

The eumycomata or the true fungi thallus consists of a cell wall and can be unicellular/holocarpic or multicellular/eucarpic.

Eucarpic and holocarpic: Based on functions, fungi can be eucarpic or holocarpic.

Unicellular/holocarpic fungi: Single-celled spherical thallus body

Being unicellular, the vegetative and reproductive stages do not happen at the same time in the same thallus.

During the reproductive stage, the thallus produces both sexual and asexual cells in holocarpic fungi.

During the vegetative stage, the plasmodium containing the amoeboid like protoplasm in species like Plasmodiophora cleaves to release the spores.

Multicellular eucarpic fungi thallus body has a vegetative part to absorb nutrients and a reproductive part as in Pythiumaphanidermatum. The eucarpic fungi can do both vegetative and reproductive functions and the phases undergo at the same time.

Homothallic and heterothallic: Based on reproductive or mating type, fungi thallus is divided into homothallic or heterothallic types.

Homothallic type fungi do not have a mating type.

Heterothallic fungi are based on gamete fertilization by another gamete.

Structure and modifications: The thallus structure found in fungi consists of a tubular and filamentous structure called hyphae. A fungal body with a group of hyphae along with the thallus is termed as the mycelium.

The thallus body in fungi is called as the mycelium which consists of thread-like structures called hyphae which are all interwoven together.

The hyphae may be septated with a cross-wall or aseptated and without a cross-wall.

Modification of mycelium: The mycelium based on hypha structure can be uninucleate, binucleate, or multinucleate; and based on septa, it can be simple pore or dolipore.

Based on how the hyphae filaments are interwoven together, the mycelium is known as:

Plectenchyma just consists of the fungal tissue which is either loosely or tightly interwoven.

Prosenchyma/prosoplatenchyma has loosely interwoven hyphae in a parallel arrangement.

Pseudoparenchyma/paraplatenchyma has tightly interwoven hyphae with cross-sectional parenchyma.

Rhizomorph have compact root-like hyphae along with a growing tip for absorption and penetration into the substratum.

Sclerotia Compact hyphae with a thick external covering is made up of hyphae; the body is hard and dormant that germinates under favorable conditions.

Stromata compact hyphal mattress like structures with reproductive units are called stromata.

Pseudosclerotiumare fruit bodies of hyphal aggregations are of higher fungi.

Appressorium parasitic with germ tube or swollen hyphae.

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