Lichen-associated fungi of the Letharietum vulpinae
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In the present study, a well-defined lichen community was screened for associated fungi for the first time. The photophilous lichen community Letharietum vulpinae was chosen because its character species, Letharia vulpina, was expected to host rather specialized fungi due to the presence of antimycotic secondary compounds. A considerable number of the associated fungi that were isolated were probably selective for lichens, because they appeared to be distantly related to fungi known from other substrates. The majority of these obligatory, lichen-associated fungi were only isolated in the course of the present study and represent hitherto unknown phylogenetic lineages. Parts of the lichen-associated fungi overlapped those colonizing rock surfaces or were closely related to endophytic fungi, but the lichen-associated and endophytic fungi still represented separate lineages.
KeywordsLichen-associated fungi Endolichenic fungi Letharietum vulpinae Letharia Substrate preference
Luciana Zedda (Bonn) and Frank Bungartz (Quito, Ecuador) assisted in the identification of lichens. Miia Pitkäranta (Helsinki) readily shared and discussed unpublished data with us. Andrea Kirpal and Christina Leistner assisted with laboratory work. Roland Moberg (Uppsala) and Michael Hamilton (James Reserve, California) are thanked for their hospitality and for providing working facilities in their laboratories. John A. Elix (Canberra) is thanked for correcting the English. The study was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Ra 731/3).
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