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The diversity of lichenized trentepohlioid algal (Ulvophyceae) communities is driven by fungal taxonomy and ecological factors

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Trentepohliales are a group of both free-living and lichenized algae, with most diversity occurring in tropical regions. Recent studies showed that the abundance of lichens with a trentepohlioid photobiont has been increasing in temperate habitats, probably because of global warming, which makes them an interesting study case. A detailed molecular study of the diversity of lichenized Trentepohliales, epiphytic as well as epilithic, was performed in three forests of north-western Europe. Additional samples of lichens of the Arthoniales order (associating essentially with a trentepohlioid photobiont) from other European regions and from other continents were also sequenced. A total of 195 algal sequences were obtained. Phylogenetic analyses with rbcL and ITS loci were performed and associations between phylogenetic distances of photobionts and ecological factors (substratum, climate or Wirth indices, mycobiont taxonomy, and geographic location) were tested by variation partitioning and phylogenetic signal analyses. The high number of rbcL algal haplotypes found in some lichens or on different substrata revealed that the Trentepohliales diversity in extratropical regions was underestimated. The phylogenetic patterns showed selectivity of some photobionts in their fungal partner choice and vice-versa, while others were linked with several haplotypes. Photobionts seemed to be less selective than mycobionts. The main factors influencing lichenized algal community were climate and mycobiont species. Coevolution between mycobionts and photobionts as well as switching between free living and lichenized lifestyles appeared to drive the evolution of Trentepohliales and might explain the high cryptic diversity observed, which might be changing in some regions due to climate change.
ISSN: 1529-8817
Issue: 4
Volume: 58
Pages: 582 - 602
Publication year:2022