2,616Grants to


Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 10051505

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 10051505) - Lichen - Awarded $4,000 on July 28, 2011

Cladonia trapezuntica is a species that was never seen after it was described in 1907. We defined it approximate location by the historical maps at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, and 2 years later during a field study.

Thanks to the MBZ Species Consercation fund, we were able to evaluate its IUCN status by several days of field studies. As conclusion, this species was evaluated as critically endangered (CR) based on several criteria (IUCN, 2010): B1 (extent of occurrence is estimated to be less than 100 km2, and it is known to exist at only a single location), B2 (area of occupancy is estimated to be less than 10 km2, and it is known to exist at only a single location), and C2 (at least 90% of mature individuals are in 1 subpopulation) criteria (IUCN, 2010).

We also studied its substrate. To determine mineral composition of the rubble, rubble samples were crushed in a mortar and then analyzed using X-ray diffractometry (XRD). As result, the substrate is richest in iron oxide, followed by calcium phosphate hydroxide, calcium carbonate, and barium aluminum silicate.

The open, bare soil surface on this rubble and the rocks on it compose the substrate of C. trapezuntica. The margins of the rubble limit the distribution of the lichen population, which covers an area of less than 0.1 km2. However, hundreds of individuals occur in the cushions. This lichen is not in heavy competition with other lichens, but it is limited by mosses and grassland plants. Therefore, deeper soil patches are overgrown by mosses and grasses, while the shallow soil patches are suitable substrate for the lichen. A few short Vaccinium shrubs also occur in this area. The grassland is surrounded by dense and high Rhododendron shrubs that inhibit epigeic lichen vegetation. These heathlands merge into forests.

In the lab, we examined the specimens by molecular, morphological, and chemical analyses to determine whether C. trapezuntica is a distinct species or rather falls within the phenotypic variation of Pycnothelia papillaria. Although most of the podetia appear to be unusual for P. papillaria, the molecular evidence indicates that C. trapezuntica should be considered as a synonym of P. papillaria, and the cushion-like growth form, taller podetia with irregular to dichotomously or trichotomously branching pattern, and scarce primary thallus should be recognized as morphological variability. Consequently, the southeastern distribution limit of P. papillaria is extended to Turkey.

We also checked its lichen secondary metabolite by HPTLC. Our specimens contain atranorin and chloroatranorin. This result essentially corresponds again to that of P. papillaria.

Our results as well as the support of this grant was first presented on IAL7 congress in 2012 in Thailand. IAL7 is the 7th Congress that will be organized by International Association of Lichenology. These foremost congress series entertain lichenologist worldwide, they are holding in every four years .

Later, we published our results in a high-quality journal with open access structure that is indexed by Web of Science (Category B) (ÅženkardeÅŸler et al, 2016, Cladonia trapezuntica (Cladoniaceae, lichenized Ascomycota): a robust morphotype of Pycnothelia papillaria, a taxonomic study with conservational survey), Turk J Bot 40: 104-111, doi:10.3906/bot-1403-49.

To conserve and ensure material for comparison to encourage further studies, collected dublicate specimens we sent to some herbaria in Turkey (e.g. ANES, ANK, BULU, EGE, ISTE, VANF).

On the other hand, our aim to adding this species to the Red Data Book of Turkey failed unfortunately, since phanerogamic species are privileged. We will need some more time.

Project document