Reproductive strategy of a lichenized fungus shifts along a climatic gradient

Life history theory predicts that plants in adverse environments for juvenile performance start reproduction at a smaller size and exhibit higher reproductive allocation compared to their counterparts in more favourable environments. Merinero et al. explore the reproductive strategy of an asexually reproducing lichen along a rainfall gradient.

General view of a reproductive Lobarina scrobiculata individual growing on an oak trunk
General view of a reproductive Lobarina scrobiculata individual growing on an oak trunk (A; scale bar = 4 cm); detailed laminar and marginal soralia (B; scale bar = 4 mm); and (C) locations of the 18 populations of L. scrobiculata sampled throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Southern Europe). Details of the populations are shown in Table 1. Photos courtesy of Gilfernando Giménez.

Consistent with the predictions of life-history theory, they find a decrease in the size for reproduction, and a higher reproductive allocation in drier, adverse, environments. By focusing on an asexually reproducing lichen, the study improves our understanding of life history diversity and reproductive strategies across environments.

Written by Annals of Botany Office

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

Geographical distribution of 24 Rhododendron populations used in this study outlined in the geographical distribution range of R. spiciferum, R. spinuliferum and hybrid. SC, R. spiciferum; SN, R. spinuliferum.

Evolving towards introgression: hybridization and hybrid swarms

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