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Diversity of Lecidea (Lecideaceae, Ascomycota) species revealed by molecular data and morphological characters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2010

Ulrike Ruprecht*
Department of Organismic Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
H. Thorsten Lumbsch
Department of Botany, The Field Museum, 1400 S, Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Georg Brunauer
Department of Organismic Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
T.G. Allan Green
Biological Sciences, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand Vegetal II, Farmacia Facultad, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
Roman Türk
Department of Organismic Biology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria


The diversity of lichens, especially crustose species, in continental Antarctica is still poorly known. To overcome difficulties with the morphology based species delimitations in these groups, we employed molecular data (nuclear ITS and mitochondrial SSU rDNA sequences) to test species boundaries within the genus Lecidea. Sampling was done along a north–south transect at five different areas in the Ross Sea region (Cape Hallett, Botany Bay to Mount Suess, Taylor Valley, Darwin Area and Mount Kyffin). A total of 153 specimens were collected from 13 localities. Phylogenetic analyses also include specimens from other regions in Antarctica and non-Antarctic areas. Maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses agreed in placing the samples from continental Antarctica into four major groups. Based on this phylogenetic estimate, we restudied the micromorphology and secondary chemistry of these four clades to evaluate the use of these characters as phylogenetic discriminators. These clades are identified as the following species Lecidea cancriformis, L. andersonii as well as the new species L. polypycnidophora Ruprecht & Türk sp. nov. and another previously unnamed clade of uncertain status, referred to as Lecidea sp. (L. UCR1).

Research Article
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2010

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