Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 January 2018
Using an ITS mutation rate as calibration reference, a three-locus timetree was generated for the genus Lobaria and its most important clades. The timetree resolved most clades with strong support and gave an estimate of the diversification time for Lobaria during the early Oligocene. A fossil impression from a 12–24 million-year-old Miocene deposit is hypothesized here to belong to an ancestral Lobaria species. Additionally, the age estimate indicates that the paleoclimate and the closing or opening of the Bering Strait played a major role in shaping the current distribution of most Lobaria species. It is hypothesized that the Bering land bridge acted as a major highway during warm-temperate climate periods, but as a barrier during Arctic climate times.