In this study, we examined the endolichenic fungal communities of saxicolous lichens covering the rocks in the Nahal Oren valley, northern Israel. A total of 60 fungal species belonging to 35 genera were isolated from six lichen species collected in the summer and winter on the south-facing slope (SFS) and north-facing slope (NFS) of the valley. We verified that rocks serve as a possible source for the formation of endolichenic communities because communities colonising lichen thalli and the rock surface shared 39% of species and clustered together on the SFS. On the NFS, with a compara-tively favourable microclimate, lichen thalli abundantly harboured typical soil fungi such as Clono-stachys rosea and Fusarium spp. in winter and summer, respectively. At the same time, more severe environmental conditions on the SFS facilitated the prevalence of melanised fungi with thick-walled and multicellular spores irrespective of season. The lowest species richness and isolate densities of endolichenic communities were registered in the thalli of Collema cristatum. This decrease, espe-cially expressed in the summer, was probably associated with the antifungal effect of substances pro-duced by its cyanobiont, as well as with the heavy dehydration of thalli during the dry season.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the Israeli Ministry of Absorption for financial support of this study.
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- endolichenic fungi
- lichen thallus
- melanised fungi
- microclimatic contrast
- rock surface
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science