Glacial refugia and the prediction of future habitat coverage of the South American lichen species Ochrolechia austroamericana
- Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
(issn: 2045-2322, eissn: 2045-2322)
The biogeographic history of lichenized fungi remains unrevealed because those organisms rarely fossilize due to their delicate, often tiny and quickly rotting thalli. Also the ecology and factors limiting occurrence of numerous taxa, especially those restricted in their distribution to tropical areas are poorly recognized. The aim of this study was to determine localization of glacial refugia of South American Ochrolechia austroamericana and to estimate the future changes in the coverage of its habitats using ecological niche modeling tools. The general glacial potential range of the studied species was wider than it is nowadays and its niches coverage decreased by almost 25% since last glacial maximum. The refugial areas were covered by cool and dry grasslands and scrubs and suitable niches in South America were located near the glacier limit. According to our analyses the further climate changes will not significantly influence the distribution of the suitable niches of O. austroamericana.