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J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2008; 18(6): 1016-1023

Published online June 28, 2008

Copyright © The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Diversity of the Lichenized Fungi in King George Island, Antarctica, Revealed by Phylogenetic Analysis of Partial Large Subunit rDNA Sequences

Mikhail Andreev , Soon Gyu Hong 1*, Lee, Jin Sung 1*, Hong Kum Lee 1* and Jae-Seoun Hur 2*

Komarov Botanical Institute, 2, Prof. Popov St., 197376, St.-Petersburg, Russia, 1Polar BioCenter, Korea Polar Research Institute, KORDI, 7-50 Songdo-dong, Incheon 406-840, Korea, 2Department of Environmental Education, Sunchon National University, 315 Maegok-dong, Suchon 540-742, Korea

Abstract

Lichens are predominant and important components of flora in the terrestrial ecosystem of Antarctica. However, relatively few researches on the phylogenetic position of Antarctic lichen-forming fungi have been accomplished. In this study, partial sequences of nuclear large subunit rDNAs from 50 Antarctic specimens were obtained and the phylogeny was reconstructed. Antarctic lichen species were distributed in 4 orders, including the monophyletic order Agyrales, paraphyletic orders Pertusariales and Teloschistales, and polyphyletic order Lecanorales. Species diversity was highest in the order Lecanorales, followed by Teloschistales and Pertusariales. Based on the phylogeny and sequence similarity analyses, it is proposed that the taxonomy of Stereocaulon alpinum, Physcia caesia, Usnea aurantiacoatra, and Cladonia species should be revised by careful examination of their phenotypic and molecular characteristics. Six species known to be endemic to Antarctica, Catillaria corymbosa, Himantormia lugubris, Leptogium puberulum, Pertusaria pertusa, Rhizoplaca aspidophora, and Umbilicaria antarctica, formed unique lineages, implying independent origins in the Antarctic area.

Keywords: Antarctica, diversity, King George Island, lichens, phylogeny