With current projections of fungal diversity estimated at 2.2 to 3.8 million species, only 3-5% of those species are currently accepted. Within this group, lichen-forming fungi comprise c. 17% of known fungal diversity, playing fundamental roles in the world ecosystems. However, considering that lichens are poorly studied, compared for example to angiosperms, global lichen diversity is widely underestimated, and this is further confounded by the fact that genetic material is sometimes the only way to uncover diversity hidden beneath their simple morphological structures. As researchers race to uncover such cryptic diversity, one resource ripe for exploitation is existing natural history museums, where thousands of lichen specimens have been preserved ranging from recent to centuries-old collections. FRAME seeks to use such existing resources to address this issue with the use of museomics, a novel approach to generate informative genomic sequences from historical collections, providing a cost-effective, efficient, and laborsaving technique to integrate essential organisms into our global biodiversity inventory. This project will not only determine the efficacy of using museomics on fungal collections, but will also provide novel insights into the evolutionary history of a charismatic lineage of lobarioid lichens whose diversity has been continually reclassified in the past decade primarily due to standard genetic analyses. While this project will involve an extensive and robust reclassification of lobarioid lichens as a whole, it will also use New Caledonia as a case study to determine both the efficacy of combining museomics with targeted fieldwork to provide biodiversity estimates, while also elucidating the factors that have led to insular lichen diversification. Thus, through FRAME, a novel and cutting-edge integration of relevant museum collections with modern bioinformatic techniques will be generated, providing an adaptable framework for use in other taxa.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme
Funding SchemeHORIZON-AG-UN - HORIZON Unit Grant
Partner organisations contribute to the implementation of the action, but do not sign the Grant Agreement.
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