A new species of lichen discovered in the Iberian Peninsula

January 11, 2010
A new Phylloblastia incidental lichen has been found in the Iberian Peninsula. Credit: Esteve Llop.

Spanish scientists have described the lichen Phylloblastia fortuita, new to the Iberian Peninsula and to science. Another species from the same family, Phylloblastia dispersa, is also a new entry for Europe and is the first time it has been found outside the tropics.

Foliicolous lichens, symbiosis between and , are organisms associated with or sub-tropical climates, and their presence in environments such as the Iberian Peninsula, outside of the tropics, is associated with conditions of very stable ecological and

"We have identified three Phylloblastia lichens in the Iberian Peninsula, one of which is new to science (Phylloblastia fortuita), and we present a fourth species new to European flora, Phylloblastia dispersa", Esteve Llop, main author and research at the Departamento de Biología Vegetal-Botánica [Department of Plant-Botanical Biology] of the University of Barcelona (UB) explains to SINC.

Together, the scientists Esteve Llop and Antonio Gómez-Bolea analysed the lichen flora in a protected area near Barcelona. Although some species of lichen have already been recorded on leaves in the North East of the Iberian Peninsula, this is the first time new species have been described.

The study, recently published in The Lichenologist, brings together biological material that had not been identified by researchers in a previous study carried out in 2006, as well as new material related to previous samples. Llop points out that "the literature about the group to which the samples belong had increased because of contributions from intertropical zones with extratropical species".

The field of study where the lichens were found in Catalonia is also important for science. The presence of Phylloblastia fortuita in the and of Phylloblastia dispersa in Europe reveals areas of "great sensitivity" to environmental changes and may serve as indicators of climatic change.

The biologist states that "we have found a new area with Foliicolous lichen , rich in important plant life, which, as in other locations, is associated with conditions of ecological and environmental stability", and concludes: "Scientists consider the importance of protecting these locations based on their relevance to ecology and biodervsity".

Explore further: New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears

More information: Llop, Esteve; Gómez-Bolea, Antonio. "The lichen genus Phylloblastia (Verrucariaceae) in the Iberian Peninsula, with a new species from Western Europe", Lichenologist 41: 565-569 Part 6, Nov 2009.

Related Stories

New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears

March 18, 2008

Brown bears from the Iberian Peninsula are not as genetically different from other brown bears in Europe as was previously thought. An international study being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy ...

The last European hadrosaurs lived in the Iberian Peninsula

November 5, 2009

Spanish researchers have studied the fossil record of hadrosaurs, the so-called 'duck-billed' dinosaurs, in the Iberian Peninsula for the purpose of determining that they were the last of their kind to inhabit the European ...

Recommended for you

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.