Towards a dynamic checklist of lichen-forming, lichenicolous and allied fungi of Ecuador - using the Consortium of Lichen Herbaria to manage fungal biodiversity in a megadiverse country

Alba Yánez-Ayabaca, Ángel Benítez, Rosa Batallas Molina, Domenica Naranjo, Javier Etayo, María Prieto, Gabriela Cevallos, Erika Caicedo, Klara Scharnagl, Britton McNerlin, Santiago Swanson, Gregorio Aragón, Noelia Fernández-Prado, Isabel Martínez, Ana Rosa Burgaz, Yadira González, Jorge Déleg, Marlon Vega, Pieter Van Den Boom, Nicolas MagainFredy Nugra, Tania Oña, Patricia Jaramillo Díaz, Justine Villalba-Alemán, Bibiana Moncada, Jesús Hernández, Edward Erik Gilbert, Frank Bungartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A checklist of Lichen-forming, Lichenicolous and Allied Fungi of Ecuador is presented with a total of 2599 species, of which 39 are reported for the first time from the country. The names of three species, Hypotrachyna montufariensis, H. subpartita and Sticta hypoglabra, previously not validly published, are validated. Pertusaria oahuensis, originally introduced by Magnusson as 'ad interim', is validated as Lepra oahuensis. The form Leucodermia leucomelos f. albociliata is validated. Two new combinations, Fissurina tectigera and F. timida, are made, and Physcia mobergii is introduced as a replacement name for the illegitimate P. lobulata Moberg non (Flörke) Arnold. In an initial step, the checklist was compiled by reviewing literature records of Ecuadorian lichen biota spanning from the late 19th century to the present day. Subsequently, records were added based on vouchers from 56 collections participating in the Consortium of Lichen Herbaria, a Symbiota-based biodiversity platform with particular focus on, but not exclusive to, North and South America. Symbiota provides sophisticated tools to manage biodiversity data, such as occurrence records, a taxonomic thesaurus, and checklists. The thesaurus keeps track of frequently changing names, distinguishing taxa currently accepted from ones considered synonyms. The software also provides tools to create and manage checklists, with an emphasis on selecting vouchers based on occurrence records that can be verified for identification accuracy. Advantages and limitations of creating checklists in Symbiota versus traditional ways of compiling these lists are discussed. Traditional checklists are well suited to document current knowledge as a 'snapshot in time'. They are important baselines, frequently used by ecologists and conservation scientists as an established naming convention for citing species reported from a country. Compiling these lists, however, requires an immense effort, only to inadequately address the dynamic nature of scientific discovery. Traditional checklists are thus quickly out of date, particularly in groups with rapidly changing taxonomy, such as lichenized fungi. Especially in megadiverse countries, where new species and new occurrences continue to be discovered, traditional checklists are not easily updated; these lists necessarily fall short of efficiently managing immense data sets, and they rely primarily on secondary evidence (i.e. literature records rather than specimens). Ideally, best practices make use of dynamic database platforms such as Symbiota to assess occurrence records based both on literature citations and voucher specimens. Using modern data management tools comes with a learning curve. Systems like Symbiota are not necessarily intuitive and their functionality can still be improved, especially when handling literature records. However, online biodiversity data platforms have much potential in more efficiently managing and assessing large biodiversity data sets, particularly when investigating the lichen biota of megadiverse countries such as Ecuador.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-222
Number of pages20
Issue number5
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Lichen Society.


  • Galapagos
  • Symbiota
  • biodiversity inventories
  • new combinations
  • new names
  • new species
  • species lists


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