Mycological Progress

, 15:3 | Cite as

Biodiversity and taxonomy of the pleomorphic genus Alternaria

  • Daniel P. Lawrence
  • Francesca Rotondo
  • Philipp B. GannibalEmail author


The genus Alternaria, alternarioid hyphomycetes, comprise a biologically, ecologically, and morphologically rich group of fungi that has suffered from taxonomic flux for many years. The taxonomy of these fungi has been predominately based on conidial characters, which includes shape, color, septation, and patterns of secondary sporulation, and to lesser extent on host association, biochemistry, and metabolites. Recent phylogenetic studies have made significant changes to the systematic taxonomy, the accurate identification of a taxon or group of taxa, within Alternaria by elevating 26 clades to the subgeneric taxonomic status of section. This paper aims to serve as an overview of the historical and contemporary taxonomic status of the alternarioid hyphomycetes with special reference to biology, morphology, and phylogenetic biodiversity. Additionally, we propose to synonymize the genus Pseudoalternaria with Alternaria and elevate this well-supported clade to the taxonomic rank of section, Pseudoalternaria sect. nov., bringing the total number of sections to 27 in order to produce a stable and accepted taxonomy for this diverse genus.


Fungi Systematics Alternarioid hyphomycetes Plant pathogens Taxonomic section 



This work was supported in part by the Russian Science Foundation (grant # 14-26-00067). We thank Barry M. Pryor for supplying images for Fig. 2.


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel P. Lawrence
    • 1
  • Francesca Rotondo
    • 2
  • Philipp B. Gannibal
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyThe Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development CenterWoosterUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory of Mycology and PhytopathologyAll-Russian Institute of Plant ProtectionSaint PetersburgRussia

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