As global temperatures continue to rise, those on Earth are perhaps changing too rapidly for some of nature’s most far-reaching organisms to adapt.
Thousands of species of these tiny organisms might be evolving too slowly to keep pace with changes on Earth as the climate crisis persists, new research suggests.
They also provide food to many species, including some mammals such as reindeer.
The creation of genealogical trees for algae also provided researchers with a means of tracking their evolutionary changes.
There are around 20.000 species of fungus, which contribute to lichens, which is greater than all mammals and birds combined.
In lichens, seaweed is responsible for providing food in the form of sugars, while the fungus acts as a fungus’s habitat, establishing a symbiotic relationship.
According to new research, algae inside lichen can require hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years, to adjust to their preferred climates.
Algae and lichens have survived earlier shifts in global temperatures on Earth, but climate change means that these happen much faster.