Exploring the phylogenetic affiliations and the trophic mode of Sedecula pulvinata (Sedeculaceae)


Sedecula is a monotypic genus of hypogeous fungi that is rare and endemic to dry conifer forests of the western United States. The only known species, Sedecula pulvinata, was described in 1941 and its taxonomic placement and trophic status have remained uncertain ever since. Here we employ isotopic and molecular phylogenetic analyses to determine its nutritional mode and placement on the fungal tree of life. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that S. pulvinata is closely related to the genus Coniophora, in Coniophoraceae (Boletales). Stable isotope comparisons with known ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungi together with phylogenetic evidence also suggest that S. pulvinata is saprotrophic. We conclude that Sedecula likely represents a unique morphological transition between a resupinate basidiocarp morphology (in Coniophora and relatives) and a hypogeous, sequestrate basidiocarp morphology (in Sedecula). Spore dimensions are amended from the original description.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Taylor & Francis

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