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Open Access Two new Ophiostoma species from Protea caffra in Zambia

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The genus Ophiostoma (Ophiostomatales) has a global distribution and species are best known for their association with bark beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) on conifers. An unusual assemblage of these fungi is closely associated with the African endemic plant genus Protea (Proteaceae). Protea-associated Ophiostoma species are ecologically atypical as they colonise the fruiting structures of various serotinous Protea species. Seven species have been described from this niche in South Africa. It has been speculated that novel species may be present in other African countries where these host plants also occur. This view was corroborated by recent collections of two unknown species from Protea caffra trees in Zambia. In the present study we evaluate the species delineation of these isolates using morphological comparisons with other Protea-associated species, differential growth studies and analyses of DNA sequence data for the -tubulin and internal transcribed spacer (ITS1, 5.8S, ITS2) regions. As a result, the species O. protea-sedis sp. nov., and O. zambiensis sp. nov. are described here as new. This study brings the number of Protea-associated Ophiostoma species to nine and highlights the need for more inclusive surveys, including additional African countries and hosts, to elucidate species diversity in this uncharacteristic niche.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-18

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  • Persoonia aims to publish papers dealing with molecular phylogeny and evolution of fungi. A further aim is to promote fungal taxonomy by employing a polythetic approach to clarify the true phylogeny and relationships within the kingdom Fungi. The journal publishes high-quality papers elucidating known and novel fungal taxa at the DNA level, and also strives to present novel insights into evolutionary processes and relationships. Papers to be considered include research articles and reviews.

    Papers are published using a Fast Track system. This implies that the papers are immediately published online and freely available through the internet via this website. Volumes appear twice a year (June and December). From Volume 36 onwards (2016) hard copy volumes will only be made available through printing-on-demand. The issues can be ordered separately through the Publication Division of Naturalis Biodiversity Center; e-mail:

    Persoonia is a journal published jointly by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.
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