Patterns of fungal–algal symbiont association in Usnea aurantiaco-atra reveal the succession of lichen–moss communities in Fildes Peninsula, Antarctica
Usnea aurantiaco-atra is the most widespread flora in Fildes Peninsula. There are two growth types of U. aurantiaco-atra: the erect form on rocks and the prostrate form associated with mosses. Phylogenetic analysis showed that individuals of the two growth forms share genotypes. Moreover, haploid disequilibrium testing indicated no significant genetic difference for the two growth forms when fungal and algal internal transcribed spacer rDNA were treated as two alleles of one lichen individual. The two growth forms of U. aurantiaco-atra appear to reflect different stages of lichen–moss community succession. A mode is proposed for demonstrating the occurrence of this succession.
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