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The pioneer lichen Placopsis in maritime Antarctica: Genetic diversity of their mycobionts and green algal symbionts, and their correlation with deglaciation time

Abstract

Since ice-free areas in Antarctica are predicted to increase by up to 25% before the end of this century, lichens such as the genus Placopsis will be important colonizers of these newly available grounds and will still be present in later successional stages of the lichen community. The main symbionts of Placopsis species are examined for 56 specimens collected from the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica using molecular (fungal and algal nrITS, fungal RPB1, algal rbcL sequences) and morphological methods. The specimens were collected from soils with different deglaciation times. Eight uni-algal photobiont cultures were obtained and analysed from two specimens. Placopsis antarctica and P. contortuplicata proved to be monophyletic and are sister species, only the former producing vegetative diaspores (soredia). Both share the same photobiont pool and are lichenized with two closely related species, Stichococcus antarcticus and S. allas. Two haplotypes of S. antarcticus are restricted to areas deglaciated for more than 5000 years and the volcanic Deception Island indicating a shift in the photobionts of Placopsis in the course of the soil and lichen community development. These photobiont haplotypes exhibit different ecological preferences, possibly leading to adaptation of the symbiotic entity to changing environmental conditions.

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Acknowledgements

We cordially thank Dr. Georg Gärtner (Innsbruck, Austria) for providing the authentic culture of Stichococcus allas (ASIB: IB 37). Mark R. D. Seaward (Bradford, U. K.) is sincerely recognised for improving the English text.

Funding

The molecular part of this work was supported by the Staatliche Naturwissenschaftliche Sammlungen Bayerns [SNSBinnovativ to AB]. Logistic support was provided by the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development [FONDECYT 1118745 to AC-K] and the Instituto Antártico Chileno [RT-2716 to AC-K].

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

AB designed the study, collected the samples, isolated and analysed the photobiont cultures, guided the molecular work, prepared the photographs and wrote the manuscript. JB performed part of the molecular work, guided ID, did the phylogenetic analyses and wrote the manuscript. ACK provided logistic support and travel organization to Antarctica, participated in sample collection and revised the MS. ID performed part of the molecular work and revised the MS.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andreas Beck.

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Fig. S1

Phylogenetic relationships of Placopsis contortuplicata (PC) and P. antarctica (PA) photobionts and its allies. The phylogeny is based on ITS2 sequences and the topology shown here is the result of the Maximum Likelihood analysis. Bootstrap percentage values ≥70% are indicated at branches, followed by Shimodaira-Hasegawa values ≥0.70. Stars indicate Bayesian Posterior Probability values ≥0.95. AB-numbers refer to cultures. Stichococcus allas and S. antarcticus accessions are coloured according to their collection locality. Black letters indicate additional taxa from Antarctica. Abbreviations: Ar = Ardley, By = Byers Peninsula, Co = Coppermine Peninsula, DI = Deception Island, FI = Fildes Peninsula, KGI = King George Island, LI = Livingston Island, Po = Potter Peninsula, RI = Roberts Island; C = Centre, E = East, NE = Northeast, NW = Northwest, S = South, SE = Southeast, SW = Southwest, W = West. (PNG 699 kb)

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Fig. S2

Green algal photobiont haplotype network based on rbcL sequences. AU = Austria Ötztal Alps, DI = Deception Island, KGI = King George Island, LI = Livingston Island, RI = Robert Island. (PNG 248 kb)

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Fig. S3

Green algal photobiont haplotype network based on rbcL and ITS sequences. AU = Austria Ötztal Alps, CH = Switzerland Urner Alps, DI = Deception Island, KGI = King George Island, LI = Livingston Island, RI = Robert Island. (PNG 112 kb)

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Beck, A., Bechteler, J., Casanova-Katny, A. et al. The pioneer lichen Placopsis in maritime Antarctica: Genetic diversity of their mycobionts and green algal symbionts, and their correlation with deglaciation time. Symbiosis 79, 1–24 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13199-019-00624-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13199-019-00624-4

Keywords

  • Selectivity
  • Phylogeny
  • Stichococcus
  • Climate Change
  • Haplotypes