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New molecular data on Pyrenulaceae from Sri Lanka reveal two well-supported groups within this family

  • Gothamie WEERAKOON (a1), André APTROOT (a2), H. Thorsten LUMBSCH (a3), Patricia A. WOLSELEY (a4), S. Chandrani WIJEYARATNE (a1) and Cécile GUEIDAN (a4)...


Pyrenulaceae is one of the dominant lichen families in the tropics, especially in lowland evergreen forests. Although very species-rich, phylogenetic relationships within Pyrenulaceae have not been extensively studied using molecular data, and its morphology-based generic delimitation remains untested. A recent lichenological survey carried out in the Knuckles Mountain Range in Sri Lanka allowed the first author to collect fresh specimens of different species of Pyrenula, and to investigate the phylogenetic relationships within the family Pyrenulaceae using a multigene analysis (ITS, nuLSU and mtSSU) and a preliminary dataset of 21 taxa. This data shows that the family Pyrenulaceae can be divided into two well-supported groups and suggests that the genus Pyrenula is not monophyletic. Characters usually used for generic classification in this family (ascospore colour and septation, structure of the ascospore locules, secondary chemistry, hamathecium structure, ostiole position) do not correlate with these two groups. However, the presence of pseudocyphellae is restricted to species of Pyrenula from one group.



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