|YATSIUK, IRYNA - University Of Kharkiv|
|SAAR, IRJA - University Of Tartu|
|KALAMEES, KUULO - University Of Tartu|
|SULAYMONOV, SHAXOB - Navoi State Pedagogical Institute|
|GAFFOROV, YUSUFJON - Uzbekistan Academy Of Sciences|
|O Donnell, Kerry|
Submitted to: Phytotaxa
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/2016
Publication Date: 11/9/2016
Citation: Yatsiuk, I., Saar, I., Kalamees, K., Sulaymonov, S., Gafforov, Y., O'Donnell, K. 2016. Epitypification of Morchella steppicola (Morchellaceae, Pezizales), a morphologically, phylogenetically and biogeographically distinct member of the Esculenta Clade from central Eurasia. Phytotaxa. 284(1):031-040. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/phytotaxa.284.1.3.
Interpretive Summary: Studies focused on protecting highly prized true morels (Morchella) from over harvesting are needed to protect these valuable species from overharvesting and to formulate informed conservation policies. Thus, DNA sequence data was collected on the steppe morel, Morchella steppicola, which is one of the more distinctive species of true morels. This morel can be distinguished from all other species of morels by its brain-like cap and biogeographic distribution across 1000 miles in steppe meadows within central Eurasia. In addition, this species represents the most basal species lineage of yellow morels (Esculenta species group). Given the uniqueness of this species, and conservation efforts in some Eurasian countries to protect it, DNA analyses of 13 collections that spanned six Eurasian countries revealed high genetic diversity within this species. Lastly, a detailed map was prepared showing its geographic distribution across the terrestrial ecoregions of central Eurasia, which should support conservation efforts to protect this economically important species. The results of this study will be of interest to diverse scientists, including conservation and applied fungal biologists.
Technical Abstract: The steppe morel, Morchella steppicola, is one of the more iconic species of true morels (Morchellaceae, Pezizales) based on its: 1) distinctive cerebriform pileus with densely packed labyrinthine irregular ridges, 2) genealogically exclusive position as the earliest diverging species lineage within the Esculenta clade, and 3) geographic distribution within temperate grassland steppes in central Eurasia. Given the uniqueness of this species, and conservation efforts in some Eurasian countries to protect it, we sought to study the holotype in the Mycological Herbarium of the M. G. Kholodny Institute of Botany (KW), Kyiv, Ukraine. However, because the type specimen appears to have been lost, but a picture was provided with the description, we have designated it the lectotype and epitypified this important species based on a collection made in 2014 from Lugansk province, Ukraine. Herein, we provide a detailed morphological description, a preliminary assessment of intraspecific diversity via phylogenetic analysis of ITS rDNA sequences from 13 M. steppicola collections spanning six Eurasian countries, and map its geographic distribution across the terrestrial ecoregions of central Eurasia.