Species diversity and ecological patterns of Phaeoclavulina species in Mexico with implications for conservation
Species of Phaeoclavulina (formerly genus Ramaria, subgenus Echinoramaria) have been reported in temperate, tropical and subtropical areas of the world. In Mexico, these species occur from sea level to 3200 m. Based on 132 distribution records of 22 species, patterns of species rarity and richness were determined using a grid-cell system of 1° x 1° latitude/longitude. The highest species richness areas were Sierra Madre Oriental and Serranías Meridionales, while species were rare in the areas of Jalisco (Pacific coast and Altiplanicie), Guerrero and Oaxaca (Serranías Meridionales) and Chiapas (Serranías Transístmicas). The distribution of eight species was modeled and the precision and accuracy of these models were analyzed based on kappa concordance tests. The models for the temperate species sets (list the species) presented high kappa values while the tropical species sets (list the species) presented low kappa values. When we maximized the variation of the models, we found congruence between the richness zones identified in the grid-cells. The ecological-morphological segregation of the Mexican species was evaluated with a PCA analysis, resulting in two groups. The first included species inhabiting mainly tropical and subtropical areas (list the species) characterized by more evident basidiospore ornamentation consisting of large spines. A second group of species (list the species) inhabits mainly temperate forests in higher altitudes and these species have less evident basidiospore ornamentation consisting of small warts. The current known distribution of these fungi is intimately correlated with environmental factors. Based on our results, we propose priority conservation areas based on taxonomic richness and higher corrected weighted endemism index values which coincide with the analysis of potential distribution of these species; the montane systems of central and southeastern Mexico and the northwestern part of the Yucatan peninsula. These temperate fungi could grow in several other neighboring Natural Protected Areas, but their presence must be confirmed. The situation with the tropical species is more critical as there are few neighboring Natural Protected Areas where these fungi could have special protection.
Fungi; biogeography; rarity; diversity; richness; distribution modeling; ecological segregation; basidiospore structure
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