Rather, the intent here is to give you some examples of the features or tools used in lichen identification and some general observations about lichen classification. Each new tool or method has provided information previously unobtainable. Modern evolutionary theory developed from the later 1800s onward. In such a situation a non-integrated approach would have been worthless from the beginning. There are rules governing the creation of taxonomic names and one is that when a biologist proposes the creation of a new taxon at some taxonomic rank, he or she must ensure that there is at least one new taxon at each lower taxonomic rank. At an earlier level of knowledge the trait of RED may have been thought a significant feature and hence used to help define a genus consisting just of C, J and S. Current knowledge, as presented by the diagram, shows that RED is not a significant indicator of evolutionary closeness since C is closer to the non-RED U than to the other RED species. This is shown already by the fact that the more extensive investigation behind the 2009 publication did not support an earlier hypothesis, published in 2001, that lichenization was the ancestral state for the majority of current ascomycete taxa. The dotted line indicates that there are more species involved in the analysis, but we are interested in only the 11 shown here and indicated by letters.In this tree the blue dots, called nodes, are like ancestors in a family tree. Most of the fungal members in the lichens belong to class Ascomycetes, except a few which belong to Basidiomycetes. Genus, family, order, class, phylum and kingdom are also examples of taxonomic ranks. THE CLASSIFICATION OF LICHENS. This simplistic scenario is sufficient to explain the basic idea but in reality there may be many complications, fortunately irrelevant for the purpose of this page, in deriving measures of closeness between the three sequences. As we are unable to analyse the ancestral species all we can say is that the current situation can be explained with a minimum of two changes in trait. Here are some of the hypotheses supported by the evidence behind the above tree. There was enough productive work to do in accumulating the essential species information that has allowed the better understanding of fungal (and hence also lichen) phylogeny in recent times. Whenever new information has become available it has inevitably supported some existing ideas of lichen classification but contradicted others. In particular events, these organisms are also observed on tiny branchlets, flat leaf-like structures, a powder-like appearance and in various other forms. Someone else may argue that rather than three genera there should be just two, with the first two of the above three groups defined as the one genus. If a taxon consists only of lichenized fungi then it is shown as a red line. Corticolous- These types of lichens live on the bark of trees. As more taxa and larger sections of genomes are studied some conclusions may change. Required fields are marked *. Lecanorales, Physciaceae, Fabales, Poaceae, Acacia and Themeda triandra are more examples of taxa, each being a taxon at some rank. The study of how thalli grow and develop their various features is another way of discerning similarities and differences and so have played an important role in classification schemes. Moreover, since almost all lichens are lichenized ascomycetes the subject of lichen classification is almost totally part of the topic of ascomycete classification and you can find current thoughts about ascomycete classification on the Myconet website: http://www.fieldmuseum.org/myconet/. It holds a distinct upper and a lower surface. Thus, what had been one species was split into two or more. They are usually found closely attached to stones, rocks, barks and the trunk of trees. Until well into the 1800s lichens had been thought of as single organisms. The example of STICTA AND 'DENDRISCOCAULON' shows also that thallus morphology could depend on whether the mycobiont was associated with an alga or a cyanobacterium. For the moment I will assume that there are definitions of similarity for lichens and plants and I will finish this section with some examples of classifications and a few more definitions.