Align or not to align? Resolving species complexes within the Caloplaca saxicola group as a case study

Journal Article

The Caloplaca saxicola group is the main group of saxicolous, lobed-effigurate species within genus Caloplaca (Teloschistaceae, lichen-forming Ascomycota). A recent monographic revision by the first author detected a wide range of morphological variation. To confront the phenotypically based circumscription of these taxa and to resolve their relationships morphological and ITS rDNA data were obtained for 56 individuals representing eight Caloplaca species belonging to the C. saxicola group. We tested the monophyly of these eight morphospecies by performing maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and two different types of Bayesian analyses (with and without a priori alignments). Restricting phylogenetic analyses to unambiguously aligned portions of ITS was sufficient to resolve, with high bootstrap support, five of the eight previously recognized species within the C. saxicola group. However, phylogenetic resolution of all or most of the eight species currently included as two distinct subgroups within the C. saxicola group was possible only by combining morphological characters and signal from ambiguously aligned regions with the unambiguously aligned ITS sites or when the entire ITS1 and 2 regions were not aligned a priori and included as an integral component of a Bayesian analysis (BAli-Phy). The C. arnoldii subgroup includes C. arnoldii, comprising four subspecies, and the C. saxicola subgroup encompasses seven species. Contrary to the C. saxicola subgroup, monophyly of taxa included within the C. arnoldii subgroup and their relationships could not be resolved with combined ITS and morphological data. Unequivocal morphological synapomorphies for all species except C. arnoldii and C. pusilla are recognized and presented. © 2011 by The Mycological Society of America.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gaya, E; Redelings, BD; Navarro-Rosinés, P; Llimona, X; Cáceres, MD; Lutzoni, F

Published Date

  • 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 103 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 361 - 378

PubMed ID

  • 21139031

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0027-5514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3852/10-120