Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 22, 2009
Publication Date: March 22, 2009
Citation: O Donnell, K., Rehner, S.A., Weber, N.S., Rooney, A.P. 2009. Phylogeny and historical biogeography of the true morels (Morchella). Meeting Abstract. Technical Abstract: True morels (Morchella) are among the most charismatic of all edible macrofungi. Contributing to their allure is their short and sporadic fruiting season during the spring. Most species are distributed in temperate forests of the northern hemisphere, which suggests that they evolved in Laurasia. However, no detailed hypotheses have been proposed for their origin and diversification. Therefore, the present study was conducted to elucidate their species limits and biogeographic history by estimating their phylogeny using DNA sequence data from portions of four genes. These analyses resolved forty-two phylogenetically distinct species distributed among the following three lineages: M. rufobrunnea, and the Elata (black morels) and Esculenta (yellow morels) clades. The results revealed high continental endemism and provincialism in North America and Eurasia, suggesting long distance dispersal via ascospores may be rare, even on a continental scale. To develop a robust hypothesis of their biogeographic history, molecular divergence-time estimates were obtained to provide a temporal component to the phylogeny. Hypotheses were developed to help explain the timing of the origin and diversification of Morchella, and disjunctions between Old and New World species within the Elata and Esculenta clades.