Microbial endolithic communities are the main and most widespread life forms in the coldest and hyper-arid desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and other ice-free areas across Victoria Land, Antarctica. There, the lichen-dominated communities are complex and self-supporting assemblages of phototrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms, including bacteria, chlorophytes, and both free-living and lichen-forming fungi living at the edge of their physiological adaptability. In particular, among the free-living fungi, microcolonial, melanized, and anamorphic species are highly recurrent, while a few species were sometimes found to be associated with algae. One of these fungi is of paramount importance for its peculiar traits, i.e., a yeast-like habitus, co-growing with algae and being difficult to propagate in pure culture. In the present study, this taxon is herein described as the new genus Antarctolichenia and its type species is A. onofrii, which represents a transitional group between the free-living and symbiotic lifestyle in Arthoniomycetes. The phylogenetic placement of Antarctolichenia was studied using three rDNA molecular markers and morphological characters were described. In this study, we also reappraise the evolution and the connections linking the lichenforming and rock-inhabiting lifestyles in the basal lineages of Arthoniomycetes (i.e., Lichenostigmatales) and Dothideomycetes.

Antarctolichenia onofrii gen. nov. sp. nov. from Antarctic endolithic communities untangles the evolution of rock-inhabiting and lichenized fungi in Arthoniomycetes.

Muggia L;De Carolis;Cometto A;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Microbial endolithic communities are the main and most widespread life forms in the coldest and hyper-arid desert of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and other ice-free areas across Victoria Land, Antarctica. There, the lichen-dominated communities are complex and self-supporting assemblages of phototrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms, including bacteria, chlorophytes, and both free-living and lichen-forming fungi living at the edge of their physiological adaptability. In particular, among the free-living fungi, microcolonial, melanized, and anamorphic species are highly recurrent, while a few species were sometimes found to be associated with algae. One of these fungi is of paramount importance for its peculiar traits, i.e., a yeast-like habitus, co-growing with algae and being difficult to propagate in pure culture. In the present study, this taxon is herein described as the new genus Antarctolichenia and its type species is A. onofrii, which represents a transitional group between the free-living and symbiotic lifestyle in Arthoniomycetes. The phylogenetic placement of Antarctolichenia was studied using three rDNA molecular markers and morphological characters were described. In this study, we also reappraise the evolution and the connections linking the lichenforming and rock-inhabiting lifestyles in the basal lineages of Arthoniomycetes (i.e., Lichenostigmatales) and Dothideomycetes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3014302
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