Resolving evolutionary relationships in the lichen-forming genus Porpidia and related allies (Porpidiaceae, Ascomycota)

Jutta Buschbom*, Gregory Mueller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The lichen-forming genus Porpidia (Porpidiaceae, Ascomycota) provides excellent opportunities for evolutionary, reproductive, and ecological studies of crustose epilithic lichen symbioses. However, despite the fact that the genus itself seemed to be clearly delimited, the group was thought to be a hopeless case with regard to intrageneric relationships and species delimitations due to apparently rampant homoplasy throughout most character systems. Contrary to the situation for non-molecular data, a robust and generally well-resolved phylogeny was recovered based on DNA-sequence data. Separate and combined analyses of nuclear ribosomal RNA large subunit and nuclear β-tubulin gene fragments were performed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian approaches. Branch support was estimated using non-parametic bootstrapping and posterior probabilities, while monophyly of a priori defined groups was tested using posterior probabilities. The results reveal a highly supported "Porpidia sensu lato," however, Porpidia itself is not monophyletic. Several smaller genera of the Porpidiaceae and probably the large genus Lecidea (Lecideaceae) are nested within the group. Most taxa analyzed fall into one of four major subgroups within Porpidia s.l., though the basal relationships among these subgroups could not be supported. This phylogeny will make it possible to re-evaluate morphological and chemical characters in the group, and to conduct detailed studies of species delimitations within the monophyletic subgroups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-82
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Ascomycota
  • Homoplasy
  • Lecanorales
  • Molecular phylogenetics
  • Porpidia
  • Resolution
  • Taxon sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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