A morphological and molecular study of the Syntrichia laevipila complex (Pottiaceae) in Portugal
Gallego, M. Teresa Werner; Guerra, Juan
Specimens from Portugal belonging to Syntrichia laevipila were analyzed using a combination of molecular (ISSR; 90 samples) and morphometric (PCA, FCA and BDA; 290 samples) methods to assess patterns of morphological and genetic differentiation within this complex of taxa. Taking into account its asexual reproduction, the effect of the environment on the S. laevipila gametophyte was deduced, since two representative morphotypes were detected in a clean and a highly polluted locality, respectively. A multivariate analysis of sporophytic and gametophytic characters, which are traditionally considered to be taxonomically informative for this group of taxa, showed a continuous pattern of morphological variation. In addition, cluster analysis of Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat data did not support recognition of a genetic grouping along morphological and sexual markers. No consistent morphological characters can be used to distinguish between intraspecific taxa, which may therefore be recognized as a single species of a high morphological variability.