Fungi have colonized nearly all environments on Earth, but are frequently found in cool, dark, moist places with a supply of decaying material. Fungi are saprobes that decompose organic matter. Many successful mutualistic relationships involve a fungus and another organism. Many fungi establish complex mycorrhizal associations with the roots of plants. Some ants farm fungi as a supply of food. Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and a photosynthetic organism, usually an alga or cyanobacterium. The photosynthetic organism provides energy derived from light and carbohydrates, while the fungus supplies minerals and protection. Some animals that consume fungi help disseminate spores over long distances.
mycorrhizal association in which the fungal hyphae enter the root cells and form extensive networks
mycorrhizal fungi that surround the roots with a mantle and have a Hartig net that extends into the roots between cells
close association of a fungus with a photosynthetic alga or bacterium that benefits both partners
mutualistic association between fungi and vascular plant roots
clusters of algal cells and mycelia that allow lichens to propagate