The first epiphytic macrolichen and its implication to the interacting with Mesozoic forest ecosystem [post]

Qiuxia Yang, Yanyan Wang, Robert Lücking, Thorsten Lumbsch, Xin Wang, Zhenyong Du, Yunkang Chen, Ming Bai, Dong Ren, Jiangchun Wei, Hu Li, Yongjie Wang (+1 others)
2022 unpublished
Lichens are well known as pioneer organisms or stress-tolerant extremophiles playing a core role in the early formation of terrestrial ecosystems, of which epiphytic lichens make a distinct contribution to the water-cycle and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystem. But due to the scarcity of relevant fossil records, the evolutionary history of epiphytic lichens is poorly documented. Herein, based on the new material of Daohugouthallus ciliiferus, we demonstrated that the hitherto oldest
more » ... n inhabited a gymnosperm branch, representing the first unambiguous Jurassic epiphytic lichen. Combing the fossil and extant macrolichen representatives, we performed the geometric morphometric analysis and comprehensive comparison to infer the systematic status of this rare Jurassic macrolichen. The results declared that D. ciliiferus cannot be assigned to any known macrolichen lineages for its elder age and particular habits, and therefore a new family, Daohugouthallaceae was proposed. This work updated the current knowledge to the historical evolution of epiphytic lichens, implying the macrolichens may have diversified much earlier than the generally accepted K–Pg boundary. In addition, our new finding also provided direct evidence for tracing the continuing joint development of epiphytic lichens and forest ecosystem since the Jurassic of 165 Mya.
doi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-1170341/v1 fatcat:d477frc2srfhvgzzzlaes7l36y