Microbes and environments

Phylogenetic Diversity of Peltigera Cyanolichens and Their Photobionts in Southern Chile and Antarctica.

PMID 25925273


The lichen genus Peltigera has been mainly revised in the Northern Hemisphere, with most species being recorded in Europe and North America. This study assessed the phylogenetic diversity of the mycobionts and cyanobionts of Peltigera cyanolichens collected in Southern Chile and Antarctica, areas in which lichens are extremely diverse but poorly studied. The operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of each symbiont were defined by analyzing the genetic diversity of the LSU and SSU rDNA of the mycobionts and cyanobionts, respectively, and a phylogenetic approach was used to relate these OTUs with sequences previously reported for Peltigera and Nostoc. Among the 186 samples collected, 8 Peltigera and 15 Nostoc OTUs were recognized, corresponding to sections Peltigera, Horizontales, and Polydactylon, in the case of the mycobionts, and to the Nostoc clade II, in the case of the cyanobionts. Since some of the OTUs recognized in this study had not previously been described in these areas, our results suggest that the diversity of Peltigera reported to date in the regions studied using traditional morphological surveys has underestimated the true diversity present; therefore, further explorations of these areas are recommended.