© 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Members of the genus Dermatocarpon are widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere along the edge of lakes, rivers and streams, and are subject to abiotic conditions reflecting both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Little is known about the evolutionary relationships within the genus and between continents. Investigation of the photobiont(s) associated with sub-aquatic and terrestrial Dermatocarpon species may reveal habitat requirements of the photobiont and the ability for fungal species to share the same photobiont species under different habitat conditions. The focus of our study was to determine the relationship between Canadian and Austrian Dermatocarpon luridum var. luridum along with three additional sub-aquatic Dermatocarpon species, and to determine the species of photobionts that associate with D. luridum var. luridum. Culture experiments were performed to identify the photobionts. In addition, the question of the algal sharing potential regarding different species of Dermatocarpon was addressed. Specimens were collected from four lakes in northwestern Manitoba, Canada and three streams in Austria. Three Canadian and four Austrian thalli of D. luridum var. luridum were selected for algal culturing. The nuclear Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) rDNA gene of the fungal partner along with the algal ITS rDNA gene was sequenced to confirm the identity of the lichen/photobiont and afterwards the same data sets were used in phylogenetic analyses to assess algal sharing. The green algal photobiont was identified as Diplosphaera chodatii (Trebouxiophyceae). The phylogenetic analyses of Canadian and Austrian D. luridum var. luridum revealed that ITS sequences are identical despite the vast geographic distance. Phylogenetic placement of D. luridum var. decipiens and D. arnoldianum suggested that a re-examination of the species status might be necessary. This study concluded that additional photobiont culture experiments should be conducted to answer the question of whether multiple photobionts are present within the genus Dermatocarpon.
Fontaine, K. M., Beck, A., Stocker-Wörgötter, E., & Piercey-Normore, M. D. (2012). Photobiont Relationships and Phylogenetic History of Dermatocarpon luridum var. luridum and Related Dermatocarpon Species. Plants, 1(2), 39–60. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants1020039