Patterns of Molecular and Morphological Variation in Leucobryum albidum, L. glaucum, and L. juniperoideum (Bryopsida)
Restriction digest patterns from 18S-26S nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS) were employed to investigate delineation between the morphologically similar moss species Leucobryum glaucum, L. juniperoideum, and L. albidum. Discriminant analysis allowed assignment of specimens to haplotypes based on their morphological features and supported the recognition of L. glaucum and L. albidum. In contrast, L. albidum and L. juniperoideum both corresponded to the same haplotype. Many populations could be readily assigned to either L. glaucum or L. albidum by their morphological features. However, morphological variation between these two species was continuous and one of the ITS haplotypes could not be unambiguously characterized by its morphology. Genetically and morphologically identifiable specimens of L. albidum were sampled in Europe and North America, in contrast to the traditional interpretation of L. albidum as a North American endemic. Although L. albidum seems to have a more southern-Atlantic distribution pattern than L. glaucum, the two species occupy broadly overlapping geographic ranges and were sometimes found intermixed.
Vanderpoorten, A; Boles, S; Shaw, AJ
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