Lichens are frequently colonized by specialized, lichenicolous fungi. Symptomatic lichenicolous fungi usually display typical phenotypes and reproductive structures on the lichen hosts. The classification based on these structures revealed different host specificity patterns. Other fungi occur asymptomatically in the lichen thalli and are much less known. We aimed at studying the diversity of lichenassociated fungi in specific, lichen-rich ommunities on rocks in the Alps.We tested whether lichenicolous fungi developing symptomatically on their known hosts also occur asymptomatically in other thalli of the same or of different host species. We collected lichen thalli according to a uniform sampling design comprising individuals adjacent to thalli that showed symptoms of lichenicolous fungal infections. The total fungal communities in the selected lichen thalli were further studied by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) fingerprinting analyses and sequencing of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) fragments. The systematic, stratified sampling strategy helped to recover 17 previously undocumented lichenicolous fungi and almost exhaustively the species diversity of symptomatic lichenicolous fungi in the studied region. The results from SSCP and the sequencing analyses did not reveal asymptomatic occurrence of normally symptomatic lichenicolous fungi in thalli of both the same and different lichen host species. The fungal diversity did not correlate with the species diversity of the symptomatic lichenicolous fungus– lichen host associations. The complex fingerprint patterns recovered here for fungal communities, in associations of well-delimited lichen thalli, suggest lichen symbiosis as suitable subjects for fungal metacommunity studies.

Community Analyses Uncover High Diversity of Lichenicolous Fungi in Alpine Habitats

MUGGIA, LUCIA
2015

Abstract

Lichens are frequently colonized by specialized, lichenicolous fungi. Symptomatic lichenicolous fungi usually display typical phenotypes and reproductive structures on the lichen hosts. The classification based on these structures revealed different host specificity patterns. Other fungi occur asymptomatically in the lichen thalli and are much less known. We aimed at studying the diversity of lichenassociated fungi in specific, lichen-rich ommunities on rocks in the Alps.We tested whether lichenicolous fungi developing symptomatically on their known hosts also occur asymptomatically in other thalli of the same or of different host species. We collected lichen thalli according to a uniform sampling design comprising individuals adjacent to thalli that showed symptoms of lichenicolous fungal infections. The total fungal communities in the selected lichen thalli were further studied by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) fingerprinting analyses and sequencing of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) fragments. The systematic, stratified sampling strategy helped to recover 17 previously undocumented lichenicolous fungi and almost exhaustively the species diversity of symptomatic lichenicolous fungi in the studied region. The results from SSCP and the sequencing analyses did not reveal asymptomatic occurrence of normally symptomatic lichenicolous fungi in thalli of both the same and different lichen host species. The fungal diversity did not correlate with the species diversity of the symptomatic lichenicolous fungus– lichen host associations. The complex fingerprint patterns recovered here for fungal communities, in associations of well-delimited lichen thalli, suggest lichen symbiosis as suitable subjects for fungal metacommunity studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2846954
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