Extreme phenotypic variation and fitness in lichens

Extreme phenotypic variation and fitness in lichens

Extreme phen­o­typic vari­ation and fit­ness in lichens

Phenotypic vari­ab­il­ity is a suc­cess­ful strategy in lichens for col­on­iz­ing dif­fer­ent hab­it­ats. Pérez-Ortega et al. study the extreme phen­o­typic modi­fic­a­tions shown by vag­rant pop­u­la­tions of the cos­mo­pol­itan shrubby ter­ri­col­ous lichen spe­cies Cetraria aculeata in steppe habits of Central Spain. They observe clear ultra­struc­tural dif­fer­ences between vag­rant and typ­ical morphs, which may be related to the pres­ence of inter­cal­ary growth in the former, and find genetic dif­fer­ences between vag­rant and attached sub-populations. The ana­tom­ical and mor­pho­lo­gical changes lead to greater dur­a­tion of eco­physiolo­gical activ­ity in vag­rant spe­ci­mens. These res­ults, together with a higher bio­mass of the vag­rant morphs found in the loc­al­it­ies stud­ied, indic­ate pos­sible fit­ness effects and adapt­a­tion to dry envir­on­mental con­di­tions in steppe habitats.

Annals of Botany Office.

The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Leicester.

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