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Open Access Resurrecting the genus Geomorium: Systematic study of fungi in the genera Underwoodia and Gymnohydnotrya (Pezizales) with the description of three new South American species

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Molecular phylogenetic analyses have addressed the systematic position of several major Northern Hemisphere lineages of Pezizales but the taxa of the Southern Hemisphere remain understudied. This study focuses on the molecular systematics and taxonomy of Southern Hemisphere species currently treated in the genera Underwoodia and Gymnohydnotrya. Species in these genera have been identified as the monophyletic/gymnohydnotrya lineage, but no further research has been conducted to determine the evolutionary origin of this lineage or its relationship with other Pezizales lineages. Here, we present a phylogenetic study of fungal species previously described in Underwoodia and Gymnohydnotrya, with sampling of all but one described species. We revise the taxonomy of this lineage and describe three new species from the Patagonian region of South America. Our results show that none of these Southern Hemisphere species are closely related to Underwoodia columnaris, the type species of the genus Underwoodia. Accordingly, we recognize the genus Geomorium described by Spegazzini in 1922 for G. fuegianum. We propose the new family, Geomoriaceae fam. nov., to accommodate this phylogenetically and morphologically unique Southern Hemisphere lineage. Molecular dating estimated that Geomoriaceae started to diverge from its sister clade Tuberaceae c. 112 MYA, with a crown age for the family in the late Cretaceous (c. 67 MYA). This scenario fits well with a Gondwanan origin of the family before the split of Australia and South America from Antarctica during the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (c. 50 MYA).
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Keywords: GEOMORIACEAE; HELVELLACEAE; PATAGONIA; SOUTH AMERICAN FUNGI; TRUFFLE SYSTEMATICS; TUBERACEAE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 29, 2020

This article was made available online on October 31, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Resurrecting the genus Geomorium: Systematic study of fungi in the genera Underwoodia and Gymnohydnotrya (Pezizales) with the description of three new South American species".

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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: [email protected]

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