Understanding disjunct distribution patterns in lichenforming fungi: Insights from Parmelina (Parmeliaceae: Ascomycota)

Jano Nuñez-Zapata, David Alors, Paloma Cubas, Pradeep K. Divakar, Steven D. Leavitt, H. Thorsten Lumbsch, Ana Crespo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Disjunct intercontinental distributions have always fascinated biologists. With the increasing availability of molecular sequence data, there is a renewed interest in historical biogeography, especially in groups in which species boundaries have changed dramatically as a result, such as lichenized fungi. In the hyperdiverse family Parmeliaceae, Parmelina and Myelochroa have contrasting centres of distribution, with Myelochroa being most diverse in eastern Asia and Parmelina in Western Europe and the Mediterranean. We used multi-locus sequence data from 53 specimens to understand the impact of historical events on the current distribution patterns in these genera. We reconstructed phylogenetic relationships, estimated divergence times and inferred ancestral distributions. Our analyses suggested that the ancestor of the two genera occurred in the Old World and that these genera split during the Eocene. Diversification in both genera was estimated to have occurred during the Miocene, with the ancestor of Myelochroa probably occurring in Asia, whereas the ancestor of Parmelina probably occurred in the Turanian region and Europe or only Europe. The two Parmelina spp. occurring in the New World (P. coleae, P. yalungana) are not closely related and migrated independently from the Old World.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-253
Number of pages16
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ancestral areas
  • Distribution
  • Eocene
  • Lichens
  • Long-distance dispersal
  • Miocene
  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Parmelioid lichens
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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