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Species delimitation at a global scale reveals high species richness with complex biogeography and patterns of symbiont association in Peltigera section Peltigera (lichenized Ascomycota: Lecanoromycetes)

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This comprehensive phylogenetic revision of sections Peltigera and Retifoveatae of the cyanolichen genus Peltigera is based on DNA sequences from more than 500 specimens from five continents. We amplified five loci (nrITS, β-tubulin and three intergenic spacers part of colinear orthologous regions [COR]) for the mycobiont, and the rbcLX locus for the cyanobacterial partner Nostoc. Phylogenetic inferences (RAxML, BEAST) and species delimitation methods (bGMYC, bPTP, bPP) suggest the presence of 88 species in section Peltigera, including 50 species new to science, hence uncovering a surprisingly high proportion of previously unnoticed biodiversity. The hypervariable region in ITS1 (ITS1-HR) is a powerful marker to identify species within sections Peltigera and Retifoveatae. Most newly delimited species are restricted to a single biogeographic region, however, up to ten species have a nearly cosmopolitan distribution. The specificity of mycobionts in their association with Nostoc cyanobionts ranges from strict specialists (associate with only one Nostoc phylogroup) to broad generalists (up to eight Nostoc phylogroups uncovered), with widespread species recruiting a broader selection of Nostoc phylogroups than species with limited distributions. In contrast, species from the P. didactyla clade characterized by small thalli and asexual vegetative propagules (soredia) associate with fewer Nostoc phylogroups (i.e., are more specialized) despite their broad distributions, and show significantly higher rates of nucleotide substitutions.
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Keywords: COLLINEAR ORTHOLOGOUS REGION; COR; CYANOBIONT; INTERNAL TRANSCRIBED SPACER; ITS1 HYPERVARIABLE REGION; ITS1-HR; LICHEN; MOLECULAR SYSTEMATICS; MYCOBIONT; NOSTOC; PELTIGERALES; PHYLOGENY; RATES OF EVOLUTION; SPECIFICITY; SYMBIOSIS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0338, U.S.A.;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0338, U.S.A., Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), C.P. 04510, Mexico City, Mexico 3: UBC Herbarium, Beaty Museum, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada 4: Life Science School, Ningxia University, Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 750021, China 5: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3043, U.S.A. 6: Evolution and Conservation Biology, University of Liège, Sart Tilman B22, 4000 Liège, Belgium 7: Botanical Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 7, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland 8: Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0338, U.S.A.

Publication date: 01 October 2018

This article was made available online on 03 October 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "Species delimitation at a global scale reveals high species richness with complex biogeography and patterns of symbiont association in Peltigera section Peltigera (lichenized Ascomycota: Lecanoromycetes)".

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