Myco–phycobiont interactions within the “Ramalina farinacea group”: A geographical survey over Europe and Macaronesia

Moya P., Chiva S., Pazos T., Barreno E., Carrasco P., Muggia L. & Garrido-Benavent I.
Journal of Fungi
10(3): 206 [17 p.]
Ramalina farinacea is a widely distributed epiphytic lichen from the Macaronesian archipelagos to Mediterranean and Boreal Europe. Previous studies have indicated a specific association between R. farinacea and Trebouxia microalgae species. Here, we examined the symbiotic interactions in this lichen and its closest allies (the so-called “R. farinacea group”) across ten biogeographic subregions, spanning diverse macroclimates, analyzing the climatic niche of the primary phycobionts, and discussing the specificity of these associations across the studied area. The most common phycobionts in the “R. farinacea group” were T. jamesii and T. lynnae, which showed a preference for continentality and insularity, respectively. The Canarian endemic R. alisiosae associated exclusively with T. lynnae, while the other Ramalina mycobionts interacted with both microalgae. The two phycobionts exhibited extensive niche overlap in an area encompassing Mediterranean, temperate Europe, and Macaronesian localities. However, T. jamesii occurred in more diverse climate types, whereas T. lynnae preferred warmer and more humid climates, often close to the sea, which could be related to its tolerance to salinity. With the geographical perspective gained in this study, it was possible to show how the association with different phycobionts may shape the ecological adaptation of lichen symbioses. Keywords: Ascomycota; climatic niche; haplotype; lichenized fungi; Macaronesia; microalgae; Trebouxia jamesii; Trebouxia lynnae.
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