Photograph by Ester Gaya
The bright orange-colored species of the Teloschistales are among the most noticeable lichens worldwide. This recently redefined monophyletic order includes nearly 2,000 described species that are present in a myriad of habitats, including man-made substrates. This will be the first global phylogenetic study of the order Teloschistales and family Teloschistaceae. The results of this study will very likely lead to the description of new families within this order and to the re-circumscription of most genera within the Teloschistaceae. This study will also be an empirical evaluation of the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life (AFToL2) phylogenomic approach as a novel and global way to generate the next generation of molecular markers for macroevolutionary studies on specific fungal groups. This study will also demonstrate the importance of studying the evolution of mating loci for a comprehensive understanding of the evolution (including speciation) of symbiotic systems with alternative (sexual and asexual) modes of reproduction, the latter being a common reproductive strategy for the Fungi.