Using a multigene phylogenetic analysis to assess generic delineation and character evolution in Verrucariaceae (Verrucariales, Ascomycota).
Verrucariaceae are a family of mostly crustose lichenized ascomycetes colonizing various habitats ranging from marine and fresh water to arid environments. Phylogenetic relationships among members of the Verrucariaceae are mostly unknown and the current morphology-based classification has never been confronted to molecular data. A multilocus phylogeny (nuLSU, nuSSU and RPB1) was reconstructed for 83 taxa representing all main genera of this family to provide a molecular phylogenetic framework necessary to assess the current morphology-based classification. Four main well-supported monophyletic groups were recovered, one of which contains seven robust monophyletic subgroups. Most genera, as traditionally delimited, were not monophyletic. A few taxonomic changes are proposed here to reconcile the morphology-based classification with the molecular phylogeny (Endocarpon diffractellum comb. nov., Heteroplacidium fusculum comb. nov., and Bagliettoa marmorea comb. nov.). Ancestral state reconstructions show that the most recent common ancestor of the Verrucariaceae was most likely crustose with a weakly differentiated upper cortex, simple ascospores, and hymenium free of algae. As shown in this study, the use of symplesiomorphic traits to define Verrucaria, the largest and type genus for the Verrucariaceae, as well as the non monophyly of the genera Polyblastia, Staurothele and Thelidium, explain most of the discrepancies between the current classification based on morphological similarity and a classification using monophyly as a grouping criterion.
Gueidan, C; Roux, C; Lutzoni, F
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