13 December 2018, by Website Team Biologie
Scientists of the Herbarium Hamburgene in collaboration with colleagues from Spain and Sweden discovered a new evolutionary lineage of lichen-forming ascomycetes just published in the journal Fungal Diversity. The lichen genus Lichinodium constitutes an independent branch in the phylogeny of the Leotiomycetes, a very large and species rich group of fungi that was hitherto not known to contain any lichens. Thus, the evolutionary history of the Leotiomycetes has be to be rewritten suggesting that a symbiotic life-style evolved very early within this group. Furthermore, investigations of the ultrastructure revealed an unique interface between the lichen fungus Lichinodium and its symbiotic cyanobacterium Rhizonema consisting of a network of extremely thin hyphal prolongation so far not observed in other groups of lichen-forming ascomycetes.