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Abstract Detail



Species delimitation in composite organisms: the value of recognizing species boundaries in lichen symbionts

Dal-Forno, Manuela [1], Lawrey, James D. [2], Lucking, Robert [3].

From a single species to one hundred and sixty and counting: a case of unrecognized diversity in a well-known macrolichen.

The number of undescribed species of Fungi is estimated at up to ten million, with lichenized fungi believed to take a comparatively small share of this figure. Most of the unrecognized diversity is thought to be hidden among poorly studied, predominantly tropical microlichens. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies, however, using the fungal ITS barcoding locus, suggest that even supposedly well-studied macrolichens contain a large number of previously unrecognized taxa. Our results report the existence of at least 160 species in what, until recently, was believed to be a single taxon, the foliose basidiolichen Dictyonema glabratum, now divided into two genera, Cora and Corella. Notably, most of these are not cryptic species recognizable from molecular data only, but morphologically distinct taxa supported by phenotype features, substrate ecology, habitat preferences, and geographical distribution.  A predictive model to assess potential species richness in this group suggests an even larger number, with over 400 species. In addition, preliminary data on the photobiont, the uniquely lichenized cyanobacteria Rhizonema, in which we inferred phylogeny using the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, also report a high number of species of this recently discovered lineage. These results call into question currently accepted species concepts in presumably well-known macrolichens and demonstrate the need for accurately documenting such diversity, given the ecological importance of these lichens in endangered ecosystems such as paramos and the alarming potential for species losses throughout the tropics in general


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1 - George Mason University, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030-4444, USA
2 - GEORGE MASON UNIV, DEPT BIOLOGY MSN 3E1, 4400 UNIVERSITY DR, FAIRFAX, VA, 22030-4444, USA
3 - Field Museum Of Natural History, Department Of Botany, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60605-2496, USA

Keywords:
lichens
biodiversity
Tropics
Phylogeny
Basidiomycota.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C3
Location: Cottonwoods North/Boise Centre
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: C3002
Abstract ID:212
Candidate for Awards:None


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