Fossil Usnea and similar fruticose lichens from Palaeogene amber

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318424

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Kaasalainen , U S , Rikkinen , J K & Schmidt , A 2020 , ' Fossil Usnea and similar fruticose lichens from Palaeogene amber ' , Lichenologist , vol. 52 , no. 4 , pp. 319-324 . https://doi.org/10.1017/S0024282920000286

Title: Fossil Usnea and similar fruticose lichens from Palaeogene amber
Author: Kaasalainen, Ulla Susanna; Rikkinen, Jouko Kalevi; Schmidt, Alexander
Contributor: University of Helsinki, University of Göttingen
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Date: 2020-07-29
Language: eng
Number of pages: 6
Belongs to series: Lichenologist
ISSN: 0024-2829
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/318424
Abstract: 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.
Subject: 11831 Plant biology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Ascomycota
Baltic amber
Bitterfeld amber
lichen fossils
FOSSIL CALIBRATIONS
FORMING ASCOMYCOTA
CALICIOID LICHENS
GENUS USNEA
PARMELIACEAE
HISTORY
FUNGI
LECANORALES
PHYLOGENY
DIVERSE
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