The complex Cladonia mediterranea belongs to the section Impexae and is formed by C. azorica, C. macaronesica and C. mediterranea. These species are basically distributed in the Mediterranean and Macaronesian Regions. In the present work the limits between the species of this complex are re-examined. To this end, the morphological characters were studied along with the secondary metabolites and the DNA sequences from three loci (ITS rDNA, IGS rDNA and rpb2). The morphological data were studied by principal component analysis (PCA), while the DNA sequences were analyzed using several approaches available to delimit species: genealogical concordance phylogenetic species recognition, species tree (BEAST* and spedeSTEM) and cohesion species recognition. In addition, the genealogical sorting index was used in order to assess the monophyly of the species. The different procedures used in our study turned out to be highly congruent with respect to the limits they establish, but these limits are not the ones separating the prior species. Either the morphological analysis or the different approaches to species delimitation indicate that C. mediterranea is a different species from C. macaronesica, while C. azorica and C. macaronesica, which are reduced to synonyms of C. portentosa, constitute a separate lineage.

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Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi

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Pino-Bodas, R., Pérez-Vargas, I., Stenroos, S., Ahti, T., & Burgaz, A. R. (2016). Sharpening the species boundaries in the Cladonia mediterranea complex (Cladoniaceae, Ascomycota). Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 37, 1–12. doi:10.3767/003158516X688081