As reader of this book you will become familiar with current up-to-date comprehensive knowledge about all classes of eukaryotic algae, the cyanobacteria, and symbiotic interactions of algae and cyanobacteria with other organisms. For example, the lichens being symbiotic consortia and a prominent example of a particularly successful 'evolution by cooperation'. We expand even to the beginnings of terrestrial plant life, and the bryophytes which are gradually transmitting to the vascular plants. We collectively call this enormous phylogenetic wealth of photoautotrophic organisms the 'new cryptogams' abandoning the traditional definition of cryptogams. The new cryptogams are all those autotrophic organisms that share being hydro-passive, meaning that they are unable of controlling water uptake or release, in contrast to vascular plants. While being basal of and phylogenetically much more diverse than the vascular plants, the new cryptogams are ecologically highly relevant in all ecosystems of our Planet and are responsible for more than half of the Earth's annual oxygen production.
Burkhard Büdel: born in 1953, with courses of studies in chemistry and biology at the Universities Darmstadt und Marburg/Lahn, received his doctoral degree from the latter in 1986. Habilitation at the University of Würzburg in 1993. Professorships at the Universities Rostock (1995-1997) and, until retirement (2019), Kaiserslautern. Exploring expeditions to all continents, including both Polar Regions. Major research fields: ecology and und eco-physiology of cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, and bryophytes; systematics and taxonomy of cyanobacteria and lichens.
Thomas Friedl: born in 1960, with a course of studies in Biology at the universities of München, Marburg/Lahn, and Bayreuth received his doctoral degree from the latter in 1989, is a professor at the Georg-August-University Göttingen since 1999. There he teaches about algae, and performs research in the fields of biodiversity, systematics, and culture maintenance of algae and cyanobacteria. He is the scientific director of the renowned culture collection of algae at the University of Göttingen (SAG).
Wolfram Beyschlag: born in 1953, with courses of studies in chemistry and biology at the Universities of Kiel, Erlangen-Nürnberg and Würzburg. Doctoral degree (1985) and Habilitation (1990) at the University of Würzburg. Since 1994 Full professor of Experimental and Systems Ecology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany. Retired in 2019. Several research projects in the Mediterranean, the Western US and the Central American Tropics Main research topics: physiological ecology of higher plants and cryptogams, plant-plant and plant-animal Interactions, and ecological modelling. Long-term teaching experience on mosses and lichens.