Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2019

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E66

Endangered marriage: Ecological genomics predict climate vulnerability in a lichen symbiosis.

Höfundar / Authors: Denis Warshan (1) , Philipp Resl (2) , Hörður Gudmundsson (1), Zophonías O. Jónsson (1), Silke Werth (2), Ólafur S. Andrésson (1)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, 2. Faculty of Biology, Department I, Systematic Botany and Mycology, University of Munich (LMU)

Kynnir / Presenter: Denis Warshan

Warming in the Arctic has occurred up to twice the global rate and has already altered Arctic living communities with feedbacks on ecosystem functioning. Yet, we lack understanding on the potential for climatic adaptation in ecologically important species. Lichens play a key role in the cold biomes where dinitrogen fixation by the cyanobacteria contribute greatly to the ecosystem productivity. For symbiotic species such as tripartite lichens formed by a fungus, a green alga and a cyanobacterium, the spatial genetic heterogeneity of each of the partners can shape the ability of the lichen to respond to rapid climate change. Here, we use ecological genomics to assess the potential for adaptation to rising global temperatures and precipitation for each of three symbiotic partners forming the widespread lichen Peltigera leucophlebia in Iceland. Using genotyping by sequencing, we identified the genetic variation in the three partners from 135 individuals across 27 sites in Iceland. We found that spatial patterns of genetic variation were strongly associated with climatic factors. Genome-wide association analyses detected links between climate‐associated genotypes and specific genes in each of the partners, indicating some degrees of local functional adaptation to climate. Then, we predicted areas most sensitive to climate change in Iceland, where P. leucophlebia population will have to adapt the most to keep pace with regional climate change. Our results will help to understand the fate of this ecologically important symbiosis and the potential feedbacks on the ecosystem.