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Diversity of Leptogium (Collemataceae, Ascomycota) in East African Montane Ecosystems

Department of Geobiology, University of Göttingen, Goldschmidtstraβe 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 7, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
National Museums of Kenya, East African Herbarium, Museum Hill Road, P.O. Box 45166, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
National Herbarium, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute, P.O. Box 3024, Arusha 23201, Tanzania
Department of Plant Systematics, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstr. 30, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany
Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 65, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alberto Miguel Stchigel, Dea Garcia-Hermoso, Yasmina Marín Félix and Michael J. Bidochka
Microorganisms 2021, 9(2), 314;
Received: 16 December 2020 / Revised: 15 January 2021 / Accepted: 29 January 2021 / Published: 3 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hotspots of Fungal Diversity)
Tropical mountains and especially their forests are hot spots of biodiversity threatened by human population pressure and climate change. The diversity of lichens in tropical Africa is especially poorly known. Here we use the mtSSU and nuITS molecular markers together with morphology and ecology to assess Leptogium (Peltigerales, Ascomycota) diversity in the tropical mountains of Taita Hills and Mt. Kasigau in Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The sampled habitats cover a wide range of ecosystems from savanna to alpine heath vegetation and from relatively natural forests to agricultural environments and plantation forests. We demonstrate that Leptogium diversity in Africa is much higher than previously known and provide preliminary data on over 70 putative species, including nine established species previously known from the area and over 60 phylogenetically, morphologically, and/or ecologically defined Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs). Many traditional species concepts are shown to represent morphotypes comprised of several taxa. Many of the species were only found from specific ecosystems and/or restricted habitats and are thus threatened by ongoing habitat fragmentation and degradation of the natural environment. Our results emphasize the importance of molecular markers in species inventories of highly diverse organism groups and geographical areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity hotspot; Mount Kilimanjaro; Taita Hills; Mount Kasigau biodiversity hotspot; Mount Kilimanjaro; Taita Hills; Mount Kasigau
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kaasalainen, U.; Tuovinen, V.; Kirika, P.M.; Mollel, N.P.; Hemp, A.; Rikkinen, J. Diversity of Leptogium (Collemataceae, Ascomycota) in East African Montane Ecosystems. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 314.

AMA Style

Kaasalainen U, Tuovinen V, Kirika PM, Mollel NP, Hemp A, Rikkinen J. Diversity of Leptogium (Collemataceae, Ascomycota) in East African Montane Ecosystems. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(2):314.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kaasalainen, Ulla, Veera Tuovinen, Paul M. Kirika, Neduvoto P. Mollel, Andreas Hemp, and Jouko Rikkinen. 2021. "Diversity of Leptogium (Collemataceae, Ascomycota) in East African Montane Ecosystems" Microorganisms 9, no. 2: 314.

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