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Taxonomic Studies in Parmotrema (Parmeliaceae, Lichenized Ascomycota) in Northeastern Argentina

Lic. Andrea Michlig, Becaria CONICET, Instituto de Botánica del Nordeste, Corrientes, Argentina

The aim of the project was to carry out a taxonomic study of the lichen genus Parmotrema in Northeastern Argentina and to establish the phylogenetic relationships between the different taxa in the group. This genus is one of the larger genera in the Parmeliaceae with approximately 350 species of foliose lichens and a high level of diversity in the tropical areas of the world. Only 49 of this species are known in Argentina, mainly recorded from the center of the country, and 24 are recorded in Northeastern Argentina. The lichen diversity in this area is poorly known considering the high diversity that is really present. This project is framed into a wider one to study the diversity of different groups of lichenized fungi and non-lichenized fungi in Northern Argentina, and is a part of my Doctoral thesis.

This grant was mainly used for laboratory investigation and field work. The material was collected mainly in protected areas in Northeastern Argentina (Chaco, Corrientes, and Misiones Provinces) which are deposited in CTES herbarium. These samples were studied through the conventional methodology used to identify lichens, including a morphological and chemical study. The morphological analysis was carried out based on observations of macroscopic and microscopical characters with stereoscopic and optical microscopes. Apothecia and pycnidia were cut by hand with a razor blade and then mounted in 5% KOH to study the ascospores and conidia. The identification of the chemical substances was made with spots tests with 10% KOH (K), sodium hypochlorite (C), and K followed by C (KC), UV fluorescence, and Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC). The species found in the area were identified consulting specific literature. A description of each taxa was made, including comments about the distribution of the species in Argentina and worldwide, substrate, and habitats.

With this project, the number of species of Parmotrema previously known in Northeastern Argentina was increased. Now this genus is represented in the area by 38 species. Ten of these species are recorded for the first time in Argentina, and 4 are new to the region.

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