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Molecular systematics and character evolution in the lichen family Ramalinaceae (Ascomycota: Lecanorales)

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The Ramalinaceae is the fourth-largest family of lichenized ascomycetes with 42 genera and 913 species exhibiting considerable morphological variation. Historically, generic boundaries in the Ramalinaceae were primarily based on morphological characters. However, molecular systematic investigations of subgroups revealed that current taxonomy is at odds with evolutionary relationships. Tropical members of the family remain particularly understudied, including the large genus Phyllopsora. We have generated and collected multilocus sequence data (mtSSU, nrITS, nrLSU, RPB1, RPB2) for 149 species associated with the Ramalinaceae and present the first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the family. We used ancestral state reconstructions on our molecular family phylogeny to trace the evolution of character states. Our results indicate that the Ramalinaceae have arisen from an ancestor with long, multiseptate ascospores living in humid temperate forests, and that the phyllopsoroid growth form has evolved multiple times within the family. Based on our results using integrative taxonomy, we discuss sister-relations and taxon-delimitation within five well-supported clades: The Bacidia, Biatora-, Ramalina-, Rolfidium-, and Toninia-groups. We reduce six genera into synonymy and make 49 new nomenclatural combinations. The genera Bacidia, Phyllopsora, Physcidia and Toninia are polyphyletic and herein split into segregates. We describe the two genera Bellicidia and Parallopsora and resurrect the genera Bibbya, Kiliasia, Sporacestra, and Thalloidima. According to our new circumscription, which also includes some additional changes, the family Ramalinaceae now comprises 39 genera.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway;, Email: [email protected] 2: Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway 3: Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway, NTNU University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Elvegata 17, 7012 Trondheim, Norway 4: Museum of Evolution, Uppsala University, Norbyv√§gen 16, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 01 October 2018

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