A first assessment of Galapagos basidiolichens


As part of an ongoing comprehensive inventory of Galapagos lichens, a first assessment of the morphology and anatomy of basidiolichens from the archipelago is presented here. It is the basis for further studies of the taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of this poorly known group of lichens. Four genera, all in Hygrophoraceae, can be distinguished: Acantholichen, Cora, Cyphellostereum and Dictyonema. Both Acantholichen and Cora are characterized by chroococcoid cyanobionts and a heteromerous thallus with a distinct upper cortex and photobiont layer. The monotypic Acantholichen pannarioides is entirely composed of small, branched, inflated squamules that appear densely pruinose because their cortical hyphae bear characteristically swollen, densely spinose end cells (acanthohyphidia); this species has never been observed fertile. The common Cora glabrata is foliose, forming large, radially zonate, conch-like, often tiled thalli, when fertile with circular lines of basidiocarps on its lower side. Dictyonema is distinguished by filamentous cyanobionts and distinctly filamentous thalli that are homomereous (i.e., not distinctly layered); all species of Dictyonema s.str. have trichomes (filamentose cyanobacterial photobionts) closely enveloped by fungal cells of a jigsaw pattern. In D. sericeum thallus filaments (i.e., individual fibrils) aggregate to form shelf-like structures similar in appearance to polyporoid bracket fungi; basidiocarps develop in irregular patches on the lower side of these shelves. In contrast, fibrils of D. schenkianum grow encrusting their substrate with irregularly to suberect trichomes, occasionally bearing basidiocarps dispersed across the thallus. Two other species in Galapagos show adpressed growth form and are described here as new: Dictyonema pectinatum, which is characterized by large parallel fibrils with paler, papillate tips, and D. galapagoense, characterized by thin trichomes of more squarrish elongate cells. The genus Cyphellostereum is represented by two species: the newly described C. imperfectum and an unnamed Cyphellostereum sp., both phenotypically similar to free-living cyanobacterial filaments. Cyphellostereum imperfectum has narrow photobiont filaments with irregular hyphal sheath leaving interspaces; macroscopically it shows a bluish green thallus with a distinct prothallus. Cyphellostereum sp. has a rather uncommon basidiolichen appearance: thin sctytonematoid fibrils surrounded by straight fungal cells forming shiny tufts. The new combination Cyphellostereum nitidum is also proposed. The ecology and taxonomy of Galapagos basidiolichens is briefly discussed and a key and short descriptions of all species are presented.

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We thank Frauke Ziemmeck for managing the cryptogam collection at CDS, helping with collecting, data entry and curating of specimens. Successive Directors of Science at the Charles Darwin Foundation have supported this project: Alan Tye, Mark Gardener, and Rodolfo Martinez. We are further indebted to the Galapagos National Park, especially its technical director Washington Tapia for support and specimen export permits. The Census of Galapagos Biodiversity and the CDF Checklist of Galapagos Species is supported by several grants to the Charles Darwin Foundation (donors cited at http://www.darwinfoundation.org/datazone/checklists/). A checklist of Galapagos lichens is regularly updated and available at http://www.darwinfoundation.org/datazone/checklists/lichens, where contributing scientists are acknowledged. The lichen inventory continues to receive funds from The Paul and Bay Foundations and the Erwin Warth Stiftung. In 2010 an international lichen workshop was held in Galapagos, supported by two National Science Foundation (NSF) projects entitled “Neotropical Epiphytic Microlichens - An Innovative Inventory of a Highly Diverse yet Little Known Group of Symbiotic Organisms” (DEB 0715660 to The Field Museum; PI Robert Lücking) and “Phylogenetic Diversity of Mycobionts and Photobionts in the Cyanolichen Genus Dictyonema, with Empasis on the Neotropics and the Galapagos Islands” (DEB 0841405 to George Mason University; PI James Lawrey, subcontract to the Charles Darwin Foundation, local coordinator Frank Bungartz). The latter grant continues to support the studies on basidiolichens in Galapagos. We thank Harald Jonitz for specimens collected in continental Ecuador available for this study. This publication is contribution number 2041 f the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands.

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Correspondence to Frank Bungartz.

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Yánez, A., Dal-Forno, M., Bungartz, F. et al. A first assessment of Galapagos basidiolichens. Fungal Diversity 52, 225–244 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13225-011-0133-x

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  • Census of Galapagos Biodiversity
  • Galapagos Lichen Inventory
  • Acantholichen
  • Cora
  • Cyphellostereum
  • Dictyonema