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I've done a lot o research about this matter but I could not find anything relevant. So I'm doing a Computer Science project where, using AI and Computer Graphics, we try to predict the growth and aging of lichens on a stone, and at this moment I need some "academic validation", so is there any way like a formula or something that tells me how lichens evolve and grow on stones? Thank you so much!

This image shows what I've accomplished:

enter image description here

In real Life:

http://i.imgur.com/NFo4A8Y.jpg

So is it possible to predict how are they going to spread along the stone in a period of time? Do they start by growing in small colonies and then tend to get together to create a bigger colony? I don't know if this makes any sense, anyway thank you for your patience!

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closed as too broad by Remi.b, canadianer, Bryan Krause, another 'Homo sapien', James Aug 16 '17 at 7:50

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. The questions How do lichens evolve? and How do lichens grow? are both extremely broad and rather undefined. Are you interested in the effect of phosphorus on lichens growth, in whether a logistic model fits lichen population growth, in wether the fungi or the algae is the growth limiting factor in case of low nutrient, in whether this symbiosis first evolve from a parasitic relationship, for what selection pressures exist on genes explaining this symbiosis, in whether there are gene cluster for the symbiosis, etc... You should boil your questions down. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 28 '17 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ It may help if you could explain exactly what you are modelling with your AI. Also you say I've done a lot o research, if you could link to what you looked for, it may help us to understand which direction you're heading to. Did you find anything of interest to you on the wikipedia article $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 28 '17 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ If you're doing some kind of predictive AI (which usually involves machine learning), you should be working off experimental data sets (in this case) in order to train your AI properly, to then make accurate predictions. Also, what aspect(s) of growth are you trying to predict? $\endgroup$ – Charles Jul 28 '17 at 16:58
  • $\begingroup$ I edited in the image for the model, but the "in real life" link is not correct. $\endgroup$ – iayork Jul 28 '17 at 18:07
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Just from conducting a Google search using the phrase, "lichen modeling pdf", I was able to find several studies/publications that address your need(s). Though its dated 2004, this article seems extremely relevant to your application.

Simulating and Modeling Lichen Growth

In this paper, we present a system for modeling lichens and simulating their propagation and growth in a virtual scene.


In the article, they mention:

  • Aging and Weathering
  • Ecosystem Simulation
  • Lichen Seeding and Propagation
  • Environmental Charateristics
  • Theoretical Aggregation
  • Complex Modeling


And here are (a few) examples of what they produce:

enter image description here


enter image description here


enter image description here

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