Ascoma development and phylogeny of an apothecioid dothideomycete, Catinella olivacea

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  • Catinella olivacea is a discomycetous fungus often found fruiting within cavities in rotting logs. Because this habitat would lack the air currents upon which discomycete species normally rely for the dispersal of their forcibly ejected ascospores, we suspected an alternative disseminative strategy might be employed by this species. An examination of the development of the discomycetous ascomata in pure culture, on wood blocks, and on agar showed that the epithecium was gelatinous at maturity and entrapped released ascospores in a slimy mass. We interpreted this as an adaptation for ascospore disperal by arthropods. Developmental data also showed that C. olivacea was unusual among other discomycetes in the Helotiales (Leotiomycetes). For example, the ascoma developed from a stromatic mass of meristematically dividing cells and involved the formation of a uniloculate cavity within a structure better considered an ascostroma than an incipient apothecium. Furthermore, the ascus had a prominent ocular chamber and released its ascospores through a broad, bivalvate slit. These features, along with phylogenetic analyses of large subunit and small subunit rDNA, indicated that this unusual apothecial fungus is, surprisingly, more closely affiliated with the Dothideomycetes than the Leotiomycetes.

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    • MD Greif, CFC Gibas, A Tsuneda and RS Currah. "Ascoma development and phylogeny of an apothecioid dothideomycete, Catinella olivacea." American Journal of Botany 94 (2007): 1890-1899. DOI: doi:10.3732/ajb.94.11.1890