We studied the endolichenic fungal communities from saxicolous lichens occupying the cobbles at Nahal Boker, the central Negev Desert, Israel. Overall, 101 species belonging to 64 genera were isolated from 12 lichen species collected in three seasons from the south-facing slope (SFS) and north-facing slope (NFS) of the wadi. The endolichenic communities possessed a set of traits, which helped them to cope with harsh internal and external conditions. It included a prevalence of melanin-containing fungi with thick-walled and multicellular spores and a comparatively high contribution of thermotolerant species and species with meiospore-producing life cycle stage at the more microclimatically severe SFS. Species richness and isolate density of endolichenic communities was the highest in fruticose lichens with thick and wrinkled thalli, and the lowest in endolithic species possessing thin and smooth thalli. The communities from lichens formed a more diverse group than those from surrounding cobbles probably due to the influence of various species of lichens belonging to different growth forms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by one of the National Key Research and Development Program of China , under Grant 2016YFE0203400 . We thank the Israeli Ministry of Absorption for financial support of this study.
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd and British Mycological Society
- Cobble surface
- Endolichenic fungi
- Lichen thalli
- Melanin-containing fungi
- Saxicolous lichens
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Ecological Modeling
- Plant Science