, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 205-231
Date: 20 Apr 2013

Molecular phylogeny of the genus Sticta (lichenized Ascomycota: Lobariaceae) in Colombia

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Abstract

We present a molecular phylogenetic study of the lichen genus Sticta focusing on Colombia, using the ITS fungal barcoding gene for a total of 370 ingroup OTUs, with 322 newly generated sequences. The topology resulting from a maximum likelihood approach does not support current species concepts in Sticta, which use a morphological concept, but in contrast shows that similar morphodemes evolved multiple times independently within the genus. As a consequence, currently applied names such as S. fuliginosa and S. weigelii comprise numerous (up to more than 20) unrelated species-level lineages, which can be distinguished also phenotypically using previously unrecognized characters such as lobe configuration, lobe surface structure, tomentum type, and anatomy of the basal membrane of the cyphellae. We conclude that the genus Sticta contains about four to five times the number of species currently recognized. In Colombia alone, approximately 150 species of Sticta are present.