Browsing by Subject "CALICIOID LICHENS"

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  • Kaasalainen, Ulla; Kukwa, Martin; Rikkinen, Jouko; Schmidt, Alexander R. (2019)
    Lichens, symbiotic consortia of lichen-forming fungi and their photosynthetic partners have long had an extremely poor fossil record. However, recently over 150 new lichens were identified from European Paleogene amber and here we analyse crustose lichens from the new material. Three fossil lichens belong to the extant genus Ochrolechia (Ochrolechiaceae, Lecanoromycetes) and one fossil has conidiomata similar to those produced by modern fungi of the order Arthoniales (Arthoniomycetes). Intriguingly, two fossil Ochrolechia specimens host lichenicolous fungi of the genus Lichenostigma (Lichenostigmatales, Arthoniomycetes). This confirms that both Ochrolechia and Lichenostigma already diversified in the Paleogene and demonstrates that also the specific association between the fungi had evolved by then. The new fossils provide a minimum age constraint for both genera at 34 million years (uppermost Eocene).
  • Kaasalainen, Ulla Susanna; Rikkinen, Jouko Kalevi; Schmidt, Alexander (2020)
    Fruticose lichens of the genus Usnea Dill. ex Adans. (Parmeliaceae), generally known as beard lichens, are among the most iconic epiphytic lichens in modern forest ecosystems. Many of the c. 350 currently recognized species are widely distributed and have been used as bioindicators in air pollution studies. Here we demonstrate that usneoid lichens were present in the Palaeogene amber forests of Europe. Based on general morphology and annular cortical fragmentation, one fossil from Baltic amber can be assigned to the extant genus Usnea. The unique type of cortical cracking indirectly demonstrates the presence of a central cord that keeps the branch intact even when its cortex is split into vertebrae-like segments. This evolutionary innovation has remained unchanged since the Palaeogene, contributing to the considerable ecological flexibility that allows Usnea species to flourish in a wide variety of ecosystems and climate regimes. The fossil sets the minimum age for Usnea to 34 million years (late Eocene). While the other similar fossils from Baltic and Bitterfeld ambers cannot be definitely assigned to the same genus, they underline the diversity of pendant lichens in Palaeogene amber forests.
  • Rikkinen, Jouko; Beimforde, Christina; Seyfullah, Leyla; Perrichot, Vincent; Schmidt, Kerstin; Schmidt, Alexander (2016)
    A novel species of ascomycetes is described from resin of Araucaria humboldtensis on Mont Humboldt in New Caledonia. The fungus is placed in the new genus Resinogalea Rikkinen & A.R. Schmidt, with the species name R. humboldtensis Rikkinen & A.R. Schmidt. It has only been found growing on semi-hardened resin flows on branches of its endemic and endangered conifer host. The morphology and anatomy of the new fungus are compared with those of ecologically similar taxa, including Bruceomyces castoris. The new family Bruceomycetaceae Rikkinen & A.R. Schmidt is described to accommodate Resinogalea and Bruceomyces.