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Back to the Future? Molecules Take Us Back to the 1925 Classification of the Lembophyllaceae (Bryopsida)

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Although the Lembophyllaceae has undergone considerable revision during the last century, the generic and familial level relationships of this pleurocarpous moss family are still poorly understood. To address this problem, a generic revision of the Lembophyllaceae based on molecular data was undertaken. We analyzed two plastid markers, the trnL-trnF and the psbT-psbH region in combination with the ITS2 of nuclear ribosomal DNA. The molecular data reveal that the current circumscription of the family is too narrow and that several genera previously placed in the Lembophyllaceae should be reincluded. The family includes: Bestia, Camptochaete, Dolichomitra, Dolichomitriopsis, Fallaciella, Fifea, Isothecium, Lembophyllum, Looseria stat. nov., Pilotrichella, Rigodium, Tripterocladium, and Weymouthia. Looseria contains a single species: Looseria orbiculata comb. nov. Acrocladium is excluded and provisionally accommodated in the Lepyrodontaceae. Generic limits supported by the molecular data support a return to the early twentieth century family concept of Brotherus. The analyses indicate that the segregate genus Orthostichella is distinct from its parent genus Pilotrichella, probably at the family level. Whereas Pilotrichella is resolved within the Lembophyllaceae, Orthostichella clusters with Porotrichum and Porothamnium forming a clade (OPP-clade) sister to the remaining Neckeraceae and Lembophyllaceae. Hence, the Neckeraceae is paraphyletic. Recognition of the OPP-clade as a new family is desirable but awaits the results of detailed ongoing morphological studies.


Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: July 1, 2009

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