NKFI K_124341 "Global patterns to molecular problems in lichenology"

(NKFI K_124341 , 2017 - 2021, running project)
Coordinator or leader of the project: 
Dr Edit Farkas PI
Coordinator or leader institution of the project: 
MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Institute of Ecology and Botany
Responsible person at MTA ÖK: 
Short description: 

Lichenized associations are important for solving environmental problems. There are lichens applied for bioindicaton. Some are becoming extinct, others becoming more abundant as an answer for environmental changes. Lichens are thalline organisms of variable colour and compositions. They consist of at least two partners of different taxonomic position: photosynthetizing algae or cyanobacteria are surrounded by fungal hyphae. To this biological diversity c. 1000 special
unique organic lichen compounds are added. Their occurrence helps identification of lichens. Sometimes previously unknown chemical varieties are discovered. Molecular genetic investigations are carried out to justify taxonomic position and infraspecific variability of some species
described form Hungary. These have also importance for nature conservancy. Special microscopic diagnostic method is introduced. UV-tolerant test species are selected for the study of the effects of global environmental changes.

Apart from the high rank journal publications, as a distant aim, (partly from supplementary sources) publication of a richly illustrated identification book and distribution atlas is planned to support further research and applied fields (ecology, monitoring, bioindication, conservation), as well as education: an excellent starting point for the younger generation, students interested in lichenology or biodiversity and chemical diversity in general.

Aims: 

Revisional studies are planned to establish the current and changed distribution of lichen taxa related to environmental changes. Several taxonomic groups in Central European/Carpathian regions are studied where lichen substances have a key role in identification. An improved knowledge on foliose and fruticose macrolichens is crucial for the study of global environmental changes and monitoring work whereas a more precise identification of tiny crustose lichens is important for bioindication studies. Developing methods make detection of quality and quantity of various lichen substances possible by chromatography (HPTLC, HPLC). Endemic taxa not studied elsewhere are in the focus of our studies, molecular genetic studies are planned to justify taxonomic position and infraspecific variety. Identification key published in 1994 is revised. Digital illustrations are prepared, distributions of species are mapped before and after 1975. Our aim is to predict biodiversity of various areas due to environmental changes. Satellite research is carried out for possibilities of visualization of secondary lichen metabolites and their localization by fluorescence microscope. UV-filter cortical pigment containing test lichen is used for the study of radiation and chemical diversity.
High rank journal publications are planned on new chemical varieties, on lichen-forming and lichenicolous fungi of European and world importance, on various distribution types and the possible reasons of these. The synthesis of our results is a manuscript of an identification book and distribution atlas to be published with the involvement of supplementary sources. Online publication ways are also considered.

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