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A checklist of Lichen-forming, Lichenicolous and Allied Fungi of Ecuador is presented with a total of 2599 species, of which 39 are reported for the first time from the country. The names of three species, Hypotrachyna montufariensis, H. subpartita and Sticta hypoglabra, previously not validly published, are validated. Pertusaria oahuensis, originally introduced by Magnusson as ‘ad interim’, is validated as Lepra oahuensis. The form Leucodermia leucomelos f. albociliata is validated. Two new combinations, Fissurina tectigera and F. timida, are made, and Physcia mobergii is introduced as a replacement name for the illegitimate P. lobulata Moberg non (Flörke) Arnold. In an initial step, the checklist was compiled by reviewing literature records of Ecuadorian lichen biota spanning from the late 19th century to the present day. Subsequently, records were added based on vouchers from 56 collections participating in the Consortium of Lichen Herbaria, a Symbiota-based biodiversity platform with particular focus on, but not exclusive to, North and South America. Symbiota provides sophisticated tools to manage biodiversity data, such as occurrence records, a taxonomic thesaurus, and checklists. The thesaurus keeps track of frequently changing names, distinguishing taxa currently accepted from ones considered synonyms. The software also provides tools to create and manage checklists, with an emphasis on selecting vouchers based on occurrence records that can be verified for identification accuracy. Advantages and limitations of creating checklists in Symbiota versus traditional ways of compiling these lists are discussed. Traditional checklists are well suited to document current knowledge as a ‘snapshot in time’. They are important baselines, frequently used by ecologists and conservation scientists as an established naming convention for citing species reported from a country. Compiling these lists, however, requires an immense effort, only to inadequately address the dynamic nature of scientific discovery. Traditional checklists are thus quickly out of date, particularly in groups with rapidly changing taxonomy, such as lichenized fungi. Especially in megadiverse countries, where new species and new occurrences continue to be discovered, traditional checklists are not easily updated; these lists necessarily fall short of efficiently managing immense data sets, and they rely primarily on secondary evidence (i.e. literature records rather than specimens). Ideally, best practices make use of dynamic database platforms such as Symbiota to assess occurrence records based both on literature citations and voucher specimens. Using modern data management tools comes with a learning curve. Systems like Symbiota are not necessarily intuitive and their functionality can still be improved, especially when handling literature records. However, online biodiversity data platforms have much potential in more efficiently managing and assessing large biodiversity data sets, particularly when investigating the lichen biota of megadiverse countries such as Ecuador.
The phylogenetic position of the genus Pseudoparmelia was addressed using molecular data from five loci (mtSSU, nuLSU, ITS, Mcm7, RPB1), generated from three species and aligned with sequences from 293 samples representing all major clades of Parmeliaceae. Pseudoparmelia species form a well-supported monophyletic group that is the sister group of a clade consisting of the genera Relicina and Relicinopsis. These three genera share a thallus with a pored epicortex, isolichenan as cell wall polysaccharide, and relatively small ascospores. Morphological and chemical characters that distinguish Pseudoparmelia from the closely related Relicina and Relicinopsis are discussed. To further elucidate the relationships of these three genera, we assembled a second dataset including 15 additional samples of Relicina and Relicinopsis using three loci (mtSSU, nuLSU, ITS). All three genera are monophyletic but monophyly of Relicina lacks support and, in the mtSSU single locus tree, the genus is paraphyletic with Relicinopsis nested within. Additional studies including more Relicina species are necessary to test delimitation of the genera Relicina and Relicinopsis.
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