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From Alaska to Antarctica: Species boundaries and genetic diversity of Prasiola (Trebouxiophyceae), a foliose chlorophyte associated with the bipolar lichen-forming fungus Mastodia tessellata

AutorGarrido-Benavent, Isaac; Pérez-Ortega, Sergio; Ríos, Asunción de los
Palabras clavePhylogeography
Cryptic species
Bipolar distribution
Species delimitation
Fecha de publicaciónfeb-2017
CitaciónMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107: 117-131 (2017)
ResumenSymbiotic associations between green algae (Chlorophyta) and fungi give rise to morphologically and eco-physiologically distinct entities, or so-called, lichens. In one of the most peculiar of these associations, the partners are species of the macroscopic genus Prasiola (Trebouxiophyceae) and the ascomycete Mastodia tessellata (Verrucariaceae). This is the only known case of a lichen symbiosis involving a foliose green alga. Despite intense research targeted at understanding the biology of this particular association, little is known about the genetic variability of its symbionts. This study focuses on the photobiont partner of this lichen and was designed to explore and compare its genetic diversity along a latitudinal axis from Alaska to Antarctica. Molecular sequence data were generated for three loci: two nuclear markers (nrITS, RPL10A) and one plastid-encoded marker (tufA). The usefulness of the Prasiola nrITS and RPL10A data was examined at the species and intraspecific levels. We used the population assignment tests implemented in BAPS and STRUCTURE and two algorithmic species delimitation procedures (ABGD, GMYC) to generate species boundary discovery hypotheses, which were subsequently tested using Bayes factors. Population genetic differentiation and structure were also assessed through fixation indices, polymorphism statistics and haplotype networks. Based on the results of the species validation method, we propose that at least two species of Prasiola associate with the lichen-forming fungus Mastodia tessellata. Of these, P. borealis is broadly distributed in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula, whereas the second, undescribed, species is restricted to the Antarctic Peninsula. We detected significant phylogeographic substructure in P. borealis, including greater haplotype diversity in the Tierra del Fuego populations. Our findings provide new data that will be useful to unravel the cryptic diversity and phylogeographic patterns of the green alga partners of lichens.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.10.013
issn: 1095-9513
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