The Lichenologist

Research Article

Species delimitation, bioclimatic range, and conservation status of the threatened lichen Fuscopannaria confusa

Tor CARLSENa1, Mika BENDIKSBYa2, Tom H. HOFTONa3, Sigve REISOa3, Vegar BAKKESTUENa2, Reidar HAUGANa2, Håvard KAUSERUDa1 and Einar TIMDALa2

a1 Microbial Evolution Research Group (MERG), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway. Email: torac@bio.uio.no

a2 Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern, NO-0318 Oslo, Norway

a3 BioFokus, Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway

Abstract

Fuscopannaria confusa is a rare lichen restricted to very humid localities in boreal forests. Two Fuscopannaria species, F. ahlneri and F. mediterranea, and Parmeliella parvula are morphologically problematic to distinguish from F. confusa. Our aim with the present study was to evaluate the taxonomic status of F. confusa and thereby clarify its conservation status in Norway. By phylogenetic analysis of multi-locus DNA sequences, we show that F. confusa is genetically well distinguished from F. ahlneri, F. mediterranea, and P. parvula. Fuscopannaria confusa should therefore be treated as a separate species. A species distribution modelling analysis indicates that F. confusa has a slightly continental but potentially wide geographic distribution in Norway. However, suitable localities are continuously being destroyed by clear-cut logging and hydroelectric power development. Because of the decline in suitable habitats, F. confusa should be regarded as highly threatened in Norway and listed as EN (endangered) at the national level.

(Accepted April 05 2012)