Evolution of complex symbiotic relationships in a morphologically derived family of lichen-forming fungi

Pradeep K. Divakar, Ana Crespo, Mats Wedin, Steven D. Leavitt, David L. Hawksworth, Leena Myllys, Bruce Mccune, Tiina Randlane, Jarle W. Bjerke, Yoshihito Ohmura, Imke Schmitt, Carlos G. Boluda, David Alors, Beatriz Roca-Valiente, Ruth Del-Prado, Constantino Ruibal, Kawinnat Buaruang, Jano Núñez-Zapata, Guillermo Amo de Paz, Víctor J. RicoM. Carmen Molina, John A. Elix, Theodore L. Esslinger, Inger Kristin K. Tronstad, Hanna Lindgren, Damien Ertz, Cécile Gueidan, Lauri Saag, Kristiina Mark, Garima Singh, Francesco Dal Grande, Sittiporn Parnmen, Andreas Beck, Michel Navarro Benatti, Dan Blanchon, Mehmet Candan, Philippe Clerc, Trevor Goward, Martin Grube, Brendan P. Hodkinson, Jae Seoun Hur, Gintaras Kantvilas, Paul M. Kirika, James Lendemer, Jan Eric Mattsson, María Inés Messuti, Jolanta Miadlikowska, Matthew Nelsen, Jan I. Ohlson, Sergio Pérez-Ortega, Andres Saag, Harrie J.M. Sipman, Mohammad Sohrabi, Arne Thell, Göran Thor, Camille Truong, Rebecca Yahr, Dalip K. Upreti, Paloma Cubas, H. Thorsten Lumbsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


We studied the evolutionary history of the Parmeliaceae (Lecanoromycetes, Ascomycota), one of the largest families of lichen-forming fungi with complex and variable morphologies, also including several lichenicolous fungi. We assembled a six-locus data set including nuclear, mitochondrial and low-copy protein-coding genes from 293 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The lichenicolous lifestyle originated independently three times in lichenized ancestors within Parmeliaceae, and a new generic name is introduced for one of these fungi. In all cases, the independent origins occurred c. 24 million yr ago. Further, we show that the Paleocene, Eocene and Oligocene were key periods when diversification of major lineages within Parmeliaceae occurred, with subsequent radiations occurring primarily during the Oligocene and Miocene. Our phylogenetic hypothesis supports the independent origin of lichenicolous fungi associated with climatic shifts at the Oligocene-Miocene boundary. Moreover, diversification bursts at different times may be crucial factors driving the diversification of Parmeliaceae. Additionally, our study provides novel insight into evolutionary relationships in this large and diverse family of lichen-forming ascomycetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1226
Number of pages10
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Ancestral character reconstruction
  • Ascomycota
  • Lichenicolous fungi
  • Mutualism
  • Parmeliaceae
  • Phylogeny
  • Raesaenenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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