The lichen symbiosis has evolved several times within the fungal kingdom, although the total number of lichenization events leading to extant taxa is still unclear. Two lichenized families, the Icmadophilaceae and Baeomycetaceae have been classified in the Helotiales. Because the Helotiales are predominantly nonlichenized, this suggests that these families represent independent evolutionary episodes of lichenization from the Lecanorales. As a first step towards understanding the evolution of the lichen symbiosis within this order, we tested recent hypotheses concerning the segregation of lichen genera between the two lichen families. Specifically, we used phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide sequence data from nuclear small-subunit and large-subunit ribosomal DNA to test the morphology-based hypotheses that Dibaeis is a distinct genus from Baeomyces and that Dibaeis is a member of the Icmadophilaceae rather than the Baeomycetaceae. Phylogenetic analyses of nuclear SSU rDNA and combined SSU and LSU rDNA data support the hypothesis that Dibaeis is more closely related to IcmadophUa than it is to Baeomyces. Therefore, these data support the resurrection of Dibaeis from its previous synonymy with Baeomyces based on the characters of ascocarp colour and ascus morphology. The recognition of two distinct genera is also consistent with character state distribution of unique lichen acids.
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