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Genetic diversity of the lichen-forming alga, Diplosphaera chodatii, in North America and Europe

  • Kyle M. FONTAINE (a1), Elfie STOCKER-WÖRGÖTTER (a2), Tom BOOTH (a1) and Michele D. PIERCEY-NORMORE (a1)

Abstract

Dermatocarpon luridum is a subaquatic lichen which is distributed within temperate climatic zones around the world. It colonizes rock substrata along the shoreline of lakes and rivers of watersheds that regularly experience water level fluctuations. The mycobiont produces perithecia with small, simple spores that are thought to be wind dispersed. The photobiont, Diplosphaera chodatii, occurs both free-living and lichenized but little is known about its distribution and dispersal. The goal of this study was to compare the population structure of the photobiont from lakes and rivers in central North America with those of Europe. Specimens were collected in Manitoba, Canada and Austria. Population structure of the algal symbiont was assessed using the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and actin gene sequences. Results showed that genetic diversity and gene flow was high within local populations, but gene flow was low between continental populations. Low levels of gene flow between the most distant populations support the isolation-by-distance theory. The photobiont on both continents is also reported to be the photobiont for other lichen species contributing to photobiont availability for D. luridum.

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