A new species of lichen discovered in the Iberian Peninsula

Jan 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: Salmon forced to 'sprint' less likely to survive migration

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.

Provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears

Mar 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 of ...

Recommended for you

Genetically tracking farmed fish escaping into the wild

20 hours ago

European sea product consumption is on the rise. With overfishing being a threat to the natural balance of the ocean, the alternative is to turn to aquaculture, the industrial production of fish and seafood. ...

France fights back Asian hornet invader

23 hours ago

They slipped into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China and have since invaded more than half the country, which is fighting back with drones, poisoned rods and even chickens.

Tide turns for shark fin in China

Aug 20, 2014

A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ...

Manatees could lose their endangered species status

Aug 19, 2014

About 2,500 manatees have perished in Florida over the last four years, heightening tension between conservationists and property owners as federal officials prepare to decide whether to down-list the creature to threatened ...

User comments : 0