Genetic diversity of terricolous Peltigera cyanolichen communities in different conservation states of native forest from southern Chile
Keywords:Peltigera, Nostoc, lichens, genetic diversity, Karukinka Natural Park, southern Chile
Decreasing quality of forest habitats is among the major factors leading to a loss of epiphytic lichen diversity. However, there is little information about how this factor influences the diversity of terricolous lichens, which do not grow over living trees and could be less susceptible to such disturbances. In this work we describe the genetic diversity of Peltigera terricolous cyanolichens and their cyanobiont (Nostoc) from three habitats at the Karukinka Natural Park (Tierra del Fuego, southern Chile), which represent different conservation states: native mature-forest (low disturbance intensity), native youngforest (medium disturbance intensity) and grassland (high disturbance intensity). In both forest contexts, a higher diversity and a higher number of unique OTUs (operational taxonomic units) were found. In contrast, in the grassland, the diversity was lower and the Peltigera species were mostly cosmopolitan. The presence of unique OTUs and the higher diversity of lichens in native forest areas highlight the importance of their preservation, indicating that decreasing forest quality also has a negative impact on terricolous lichens diversity. [Int Microbiol 2013; 16(4):243-252]
Keywords: Peltigera · Nostoc · lichens · genetic diversity · Karukinka Natural Park · southern Chile
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