The alpine zone is comprised of habitats at elevations above treeline, and macromycetes play important ecological roles as decomposers and mycorrhizal symbionts here as elsewhere. Laccaria is an important group of ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes widely used in experimental and applied research. A systematic study of alpine Laccaria species using morphological, cultural and molecular (ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer) data revealed five taxa in the Rocky Mountain alpine zone: L. laccata var. pallidifolia, L. nobilis (the first published report for arctic-alpine habitats), L. pumila, L. montana and L. pseudomontana (a newly described taxon similar to L. montana with more ellipsoidal, finely echinulate basidiospores). All occur in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado; however, only L. pumila and L. montana were found on the Beartooth Plateau in the northern Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming. All are associated with dwarf and shrub Salix species, with L. laccata var. pallidifolia also associated with Dryas octopetala and Betula glandulosa. Maximum-parsimony phylogenetic analysis of rDNA-ITS sequences for 27 Laccaria accessions supports the morphological species delineations.
- Arctic-alpine macromycetes
- Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences
- Molecular phylogenetics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology