Diversity and ecological adaptations in Palaeogene lichens

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Kaasalainen , U , Schmidt , A R & Rikkinen , J 2017 , ' Diversity and ecological adaptations in Palaeogene lichens ' , Nature plants , vol. 3 , no. 5 , 17049 . https://doi.org/10.1038/nplants.2017.49

Title: Diversity and ecological adaptations in Palaeogene lichens
Author: Kaasalainen, Ulla; Schmidt, Alexander R.; Rikkinen, Jouko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Biosciences
Date: 2017-04-24
Language: eng
Number of pages: 8
Belongs to series: Nature plants
ISSN: 2055-026X
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/309447
Abstract: Lichens are highly specialized symbioses between heterotrophic fungi and photoautotrophic green algae or cyanobacteria. The mycobionts of many lichens produce morphologically complex thalli to house their photobionts. Lichens play important roles in ecosystems and have been used as indicators of environmental change. Here we report the finding of 152 new fossil lichens from European Palaeogene amber, and hence increase the total number of known fossil lichens from 15 to 167. Most of the fossils represent extant lineages of the Lecanoromycetes, an almost exclusively lichen-symbiotic class of Ascomycota. The fossil lichens show a wide diversity of morphological adaptations that attached epiphytic thalli to their substrates, helped to combine external water storage with effective gas exchange and facilitated the simultaneous reproduction and dispersal of both partners in symbiosis. The fossil thallus morphologies suggest that the climate of European Palaeogene amber forests was relatively humid and most likely temperate.
Subject: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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