The speeding-up of the use of molecular data does not allow a long break to all kinds of mycologists. They may sometimes feel out of step with this avalanche of results, especially since their relevance it is not always easy to judge (this also goes for the most experienced among us). As with our publications we are part of this evolution of knowledge it seemed desirable to give you an overview of the research. This research is not always easily accessible, either because it is published in journals with a pay-wall or because of the language barrier, most of the papers being in English. By means of these regular synthesises we will try to state our view on the new developments and changes, as well as their taxonomic implications.

 

⚠ Except the note #1, the other ones are only available for Ascomycete.org members. Go to the page Organization to subscribe.

 

Note #3 - October 2021

Here is the third note about the systematics novelties published during the last weeks.

Note #2 - May 2021

Here is the second note about the systematics novelties published during the last weeks. Many papers are focused on taxa discovered in the vast Asian continent, but there are also interesting articles for the rest of the world. Freshwater ascomycetes are particularly well represented in this news. Some recently published papers, related to Sordariomycetes, have not yet been read. They will be discussed in our next note.

Note #1 - February 2021
We are launching this section of information on the new advancements in the systematics of the Ascomycota with an overview of some important changes made in 2020. As according to the MycoBank database more than 3350 changes — both descriptions of new taxa and combinations — have been undertaken in 2020, it is in the nature of things that the scope of this overview has to be a limited one.
 

Sareomycetes

Beimforde et al. (2020) propose the new class Sareomycetes to accommodate species of the genus Sarea Fr. These are well known for to their development on the resin of conifers. To date this genus had been placed with some uncertainty in the order Trapeliales, in the class Lecanoromycetes (Lumbsch & Huhndorf, 2010; Jaklitsch et al. 2016). Due to molecular analyses based on different combinations of seven genetic markers the authors of the study were able to show that the genus did not belong to the Lecanoromycetes, though without succeeding in accommodating it in a well-defined order. As a result, they propose to integrate it into its own family, Sareaceae, order Sareales and thus class Sareomycetes.

Sarea resinacea
Sarea resinacea © N. Van Vooren
References:
Beimforde C., Schmidt A.R., Rikkinen J. & Mitchell J.K. 2020. Sareomycetes cl. nov.: A new proposal for placement of the resinicolous genus Sarea (Ascomycota, Pezizomycotina). Fungal Systematics and Evolution, 6: 25-37. doi: 10.3114/fuse.2020.06.02
Jaklitsch W., Baral H.-O., Lücking R. & Lumbsch H.T. 2016. Ascomycota. In: Frey W. (ed). Syllabus of plant families — Adolf Engler’s Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien. Stuttgart, Borntraeger, 322 p.
Lumbsch H.T. & Huhndorf S.M. 2010. Myconet Volume 14. Part One. Outline of Ascomycota–2009. Part Two. Notes on Ascomycete Systematics. Nos. 4751–5113. Fieldiana, 1: 1-64.

Leotiomycetes

▶ Ekanayaka et al. (2019) proposed the new family Solenopeziaceae to accommodate certain genera previously placed in the Lachnaceae, echoing earlier hypothesises (Han et al., 2014; Baral, in Jaklitsch et al. 2016), but despite a weak statistical support in their phylogeny incorporated other genera. In the opinion of several Leotiomycetes experts, the paper of Ekanayaka et al. (2019) is debatable, but this is another topic. Their choice to form a paraphyletic family had been tried to be "corrected" by Johnston & Baschien (2020) through molecular analyses with several genes, correlated with the morphological data of the species concerned. Thus the family Tricladiaceae was proposed to accommodate the genera Cudoniella Sacc., Geniculospora Marvanová & Sv. Nilsson, Graddonia Dennis, Halenospora E.B.G. Jones, Mycofalcella Marvanová, Om-Kalth. & J. Webster, Spirosphaera Beverw. and Tricladium Ingold. While many of these genera are known only through asexual morphs, they all have in common being associated with wetlands or even aquatic habitats. Therefore, the family Solenopeziaceae whose genus-type is Solenopezia Sacc. is reduced to this genus as well as the genera Trichopeziza Fuckel, Trichopezizella Dennis ex Raitv. and Lasiobelonium Ellis & Everh., a result which is more consistent with the morphological data and lifestyle of these discomycetes.

Tricladium splendens
Tricladium splendens © C. Yeates

▶ Some new combinations proposed by Baral & Quijada (2020) should be noted among the many suggested:

- Claussenomyces atrovirens (Pers.) Korf & Abawi is combined in the genus Vexillomyces S. Bien, C. Kraus & Damm, recently created for two species known from their asexual stages and from cultures of conidia isolated from vine (Bien et al., 2019).
- Sclerotinia cirsii-spinosissimi Senn-Irlet is combined in the genus Botrytis Haller.; no explanation is given, but it can be assumed that molecular data placed the species in this genus whose name is "protected" against Botryotinia (Johnston et al., 2014).
- Two taxa fall into the genus Lachnellula P. Karst., well-known for its parasitic species growing on different conifers: Perrotia succina (W. Phillips) Dennis and P. populina (Seaver) Dennis. To our knowledge, these are the first species of the genus growing on deciduous trees, the first one on Quercus and Salix, the second on Populus.
- Velebitea chrysotexta I. Kušan, Matočec & Jadan is combined in the genus Dasyscyphella; this recent genus (in Phookamsak et al., 2019) de facto falls into synonymy with the latter.
 

▶ Kosonen et al. (2020) published results of their work on the families Hyaloscyphaceae and Arachnopezizaceae. A multigene analysis combined with morphological data provides us with the following insights: 1) the genus Eupezizella Höhn. is rehabilitated to accommodate ancient species of Hyaloscypha whose hairs have robust exudates, such as H. aureliella (Nyl.) Huhtinen or H. britannica Huhtinen; 2) The genus Mimicoscypha is created to accommodate a group of species including Hyaloscypha paludosa Dennis nom. illeg., H. paludosa Velen., and Phialina lacrimiformis Hosoya; 3) The genus Resinoscypha is created to accommodate two ancient Arachnopeziza, A. monoseptata (R. Galán & Raitv.) Huhtinen and A. variepilosa (R. Galán & Raitv.) Huhtinen, characterised by the resinaceous matter fixed at the top and at the septa of hairs. We also learn that the genus Arachnoscypha Boud. is excluded from the Arachnopezizaceae.

Arachnoscypha castanea
Arachnoscypha aranea © M. Hairaud
References:
Baral H.-O. & Quijada L. 2020. Nomenclatural novelties. Index Fungorum, 454: 1-3.
Bien S., Kraus C. & Damm U. 2019. Novel collophorina-like genera and species from Prunus trees and vineyards in Germany. Persoonia, 45: 46-67. doi: 10.3767/persoonia.2020.45.02
Ekanayaka A.H., Hyde K.D., Gentekaki E., McKenzie E.H.C., Zhao Q., Bulgakov T.S. & Camporesi E. 2019. Preliminary classification of Leotiomycetes. Mycosphere, 10 (1): 310-489. doi: 10.5943/mycosphere/10/1/7
Han J.G., Hosoya T., Sung G.H. & Shin H.D. 2014. Phylogenetic reassessment of Hyaloscyphaceae sensu lato (Helotiales, Leotiomycetes) based on multigene analyses. Fungal Biology, 118: 150-167. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2013.11.004
Jaklitsch W., Baral H.-O., Lücking R. & Lumbsch H.T. 2016. Ascomycota. In: Frey W. (ed). Syllabus of plant families — Adolf Engler’s Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien. Stuttgart, Borntraeger, 322 p.
Johnston P.R. & Baschien C. 2020. Tricladiaceae fam. nov. (Helotiales, Leotiomycetes). Fungal Systematics and Evolution, 6: 233-242. doi: 10.3114/fuse.2020.06.10
Johnston P.R., Seifert K.A., Stone J.K., Rossman A.Y. & Marvanová L. 2014. Recommendations on generic names competing for use in Leotiomycetes (Ascomycota). IMA Fungus, 5 (1): 91-120. doi: 10.5598/imafungus.2014.05.01.11
Kosonen T., Huhtinen S. & Hansen K. 2020. Taxonomy and systematics of Hyaloscyphaceae and Arachnopezizaceae. Persoonia, 46: 26-62. doi: 10.3767/persoonia.2021.46.02
Phookamsak R., Hyde K.D., Jeewon R., et al. 2019. Fungal diversity notes 929–1035: taxonomic and phylogenetic contributions on genera and species of fungi. Fungal Diversity, 95: 1-273. doi: 10.1007/s13225-019-00421-w

Orbiliomycetes

Undoubtedly the monograph of the Orbiliomycetes published by Baral et al. (2020) will remain one of the highlights of 2020. We had already mentioned this in our columns and the information has been widely spread on several well-informed forums. It is a major work that sheds light on the biology and taxonomy of this vast group of small discomycetes. If you missed that information, you must have been staying on another planet.

References:
Baral H.-O., Weber E. & Marson G. 2020. Monograph of Orbiliomycetes based on vital taxonomy. Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle du Luxembourg, 2 vols.,1752 p.

Sordariomycetes

▶ Hyde et al. (2020) have updated their catalogue of Sordariomycetes. The previous one dating from 2016 listed the different orders, families and genera that make up this vast class (Maharachchikumbura et al., 2016). Molecular analyses have been conducted to improve the knowledge of the phylogenetic affinities of certain groups. The result is one new subclass (Pisorisporiomycetidae), two new orders (Catabotryales, Cephalothecales) and three new genera (Alishanica, Murinectria, Hyalinostachys), not to mention the new species and combinations. With such a mass of data it is quite difficult to objectively evaluate the results, especially since the layout does not help the non-specialist to find one's way around. For example, in the definition of the new orders there is no mention of the figure illustrating the corresponding phylogeny. It is not easy to locate it in the middle of nowhere.

▶ Marin-Felix et al. (2020) proposed a revision of the family Lasiosphaeriaceae which is considered paraphyletic (i.e. including genera with no common ancestor). This work mainly concerns coprophilous taxa and thus tackle a reclassification work in genera such as Podospora Ces., Schizothecium Corda, Triangularia Boedijn, etc. characterised in particular by ascospores with one or more appendages, at times with a gelatinous sheath. 35 new taxa including three new families have been published. The presence of several determination keys should be emphasized.

▶ Fournier et al. (2020) proposed the third and final part of their series devoted to the Xylaria of the French Lesser Antilles. The last part was devoted to species with a slender stroma, a total of 35 taxa are presented, including four new species and one new variety. This series allows to discover the diversity of the genera in this part of the Overseas. Our colleagues have done a tremendous work and have proven that descriptive taxonomy is feasable when you have the necessary resources to do so.

Xylaria muscula
Xylaria muscula © J. Fournier
References:
Fournier J., Lechat C. & Courtecuisse R. 2020. The genus Xylaria sensu lato (Xylariaceae) in Guadeloupe and Martinique (French West Indies) III. Taxa with slender upright stromata. Ascomycete.org, 12 (3): 81-164. doi: 10.25664/art-0302
Hyde K.D., Norphanphoun C., Maharachchikumbura S.S.N., et al. 2020. Refined families of Sordariomycetes. Mycosphere, 11 (1): 305-1059. doi: 10.5943/mycosphere/11/1/7
Maharachchikumbura S.S.N., Hyde K.D., Jones E.B.G., et al. 2016. Families of Sordariomycetes. Fungal Diversity, 79: 1-317. doi: 10.1007/s13225-016-0369-6
Marin-Felix Y., Miller A.N., Cano-Lira J.F., Guarro J., García D., Stadler M., Huhndorf S.M. & Stchigel A.M. 2020. Re-Evaluation of the order Sordariales: Delimitation of Lasiosphaeriaceae s. str., and introduction of the new families Diplogelasinosporaceae, Naviculisporaceae, and Schizotheciaceae. Microorganisms, 9 (1430): 1-39. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8091430

Pezizomycetes

▶ The Pezizaceae were recently featured with an article published in our journal. Van Vooren (2020) proposed an update of the phylogeny initiated by Hansen et al. (2005). Based on previous works that had demonstrated that the genus Peziza Fr. was paraphyletic and thanks to new sequences from several types, Van Vooren (2020) proposed to name some of the lineages supported by molecular analyses as long as it was possible to link them to morphological traits and ecological data or their lifestyle. As large morphological differences between species existed it had become difficult to maintain the unity of the genus Peziza on the only character of the amyloid reaction of the asci — this character itself showing quite a heterogeneous picture. Although this led to changes, the new classification appears to be more "natural".Ancient genus names have been reinstated such as Geoscypha (Cooke) Lambotte, Daleomyces Setch., Galactinia (Cooke) Boud. or Phaeopezia (Vido) Vido, while several new genera have been proposed for "orphan" clades: Elaiopezia, Legaliana, Paragalactinia, Phylloscypha and Ionopezia. A section of the genus Peziza, Purpureodiscus, was also elevated to the rank of genus. Note that a key of the epigeous genera of Pezizaceae was put online on our site at the end of last year (https://doi.org/10.25664/key-0009). Here are some of the new names that result from these changes — the selection is far from complete:

Phylloscypha phyllogena
Phylloscypha phyllogena © N. Van Vooren
- Peziza violacea Pers. is rehabilitated under the name Geoscypha violacea and refers to the purple Peziza with smooth ascospores occurring on fireplaces; the names P. violacea s. Dennis, P. lobulata (Velen.) Svrček and P. pseudoviolacea Donadini fall into synonymy.
- Daleomyces phillipsii from now on must be applied to P. proteana f. sparassoides (Boud.) Korf. The "classic" form, P. proteana (Boud.) Seaver falls into synonymy with P. petersii Berk., under the name Daleomyces petersii.
- Ionopezia gerardii now is the name for the ancient P. gerardii Cooke, a species with delicately striate fusoid ascospores.
- Legaliana is a new genus that applies to P. badia Pers., P. limnaea Maas Geest., P. alaskana E.K. Cash, P. badiofuscoides Donadini, etc., species that have in common a dark-coloured hymenium and biguttulate ascospores, ornamented with elongated warts or with crests.
- Pezizas with succulent flesh producing a yellowish juice are combined in the new genus Paragalactinia. It encompasses P. succosa Berk., P. michelii (Boud.) Dennis, P. berthetiana Donadini, etc.
- The genus Galactinia is rehabilitated with G. saniosa (Schrad.) Sacc. as the type species, this succulent-fleshed Peziza produces a royal blue juice.
- The genus Phaeopezia is reinstated with the type species P. apiculata, waiting for the taxonomic treatment of other apiculate-spored species.
- Peziza phyllogena Cooke (syn. Aleuria olivacea Boud.) together with P. boltonii Quél. and P. labessiana (Boud.) Sacc. & Traverso joins the new genus Phylloscypha; the species are characterised by purple flesh and warted ascospores containing clusters of granules at the poles.
- Peziza subisabellina (Le Gal) Hohmeyer, Ludwig & Schmid belongs to the genus Purpureodiscus.
 

▶ Please also note a publication by Knapp et al. (2020) concerning a new hypogeous genus, Babosia, and a new species in the hypogeous genus Stouffera, both collected in Hungary and belonging to the lineage /Marcelleina-Ionopezia. Another publication by Aman et al. (2020) presents a new "truffle" collected in Pakistan, Ahmadea dalanensis gen. and sp. nov. which ends up in this lineage. These discoveries reinforce the idea that this whole group with Ionopezia, Hydnobolites, Delastria, and Marcelleina forms a lineage of mycorrhizal species.

▶ Miller et al. (2020) published an article dedicated to the Gyromitra gigas-"complex" with the aim of assessing the genetic connections between taxa in this group through sampling from many European, North American, and Asian countries. No taxonomic novelties but clarifications are provided. The major outcome is, that despite an almost identical morphology, G. ticiniana Littini — a European species — and G. korfii (Raitv.) Harmaja — a species known from the eastern United States and Canada — are genetically different. Note that this article launches a series of papers on the genus Gyromitra that will be published in the coming months.

Gyromitra gigas
Gyromitra gigas © N. Van Vooren
References:
Aman N., Khalid A.N. & Moncalvo J.M. 2020. Ahmadea dalanensis gen. and sp. nov., an edible truffle from Pakistan. Studies in Fungi, 5 (1): 452-461. doi: 10.5943/sif/5/1/26
Hansen K., LoBuglio K.F. & Pfister D.H. 2005. Evolutionary relationships of the cup-fungus genus Peziza and Pezizaceae inferred from multiple nuclear genes: RPB2, β-tubulin, and LSU rDNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 36 (1): 1–23. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.010
Knapp D.G., Zagyva I., Vági P., Németh J.B., Trappe J.M. & Kovács G.M. 2020. The new truffle genus Babosia and a new species of Stouffera from semiarid grasslands of Hungary. Mycologia, 112 (4): 808-818. doi: 10.1080/00275514.2020.1768760
Miller A.N., Yoon A., Gulden G., Stensholt Ø., Van Vooren N., Ohenoja E. & Methven A.S. 2020. Studies in Gyromitra I: the Gyromitra gigas species complex. Mycological Progress, 19: 1459-1473. doi: 10.1007/s11557-020-01639-8
Van Vooren N. 2020. Reinstatement of old taxa and publication of new genera for naming some lineages of the Pezizaceae (Ascomycota). Ascomycete.org, 12 (4): 179-192. doi: 10.25664/art-0305

Dothideomycetes

The class Dothideomycetes, traditionally referred to as Loculoascomycetes, represents one of the largest groups with several thousand species within the Ascomycota. Several papers were dedicated to this class in 2020.

▶ The paper by Haridas et al. (2020) stands out: They publish the results of genome sequencing of 101 species and their comparison. In addition to the genetic analysis which enabled to reclassify 25 species, a machine learning algorithm (a technique used in artificial intelligence) to determine the traits between saprophyte species and parasites, with the aim of predicting the lifestyle of other Dothideomycetes to be discovered is used in this study. It is conceivable that this approach is still quite expensive and difficult to generalise, but it should arouse researcher's interest. It could possibly help preventing the occurrence or spread of fungal diseases as it might be that the trophism of these organisms could be assessed more thoroughly. One of the taxonomic novelties is the newly created family Rhizodiscinaceae with a type genus, Rhizodiscina Hafellner, including R. lignyota (Fr.) Hafellner, a small fungus well-known to mycologists interested in xylophilous ascomycetes.

▶ Hongsanan et al. (2020a, 2020b) have proposed two heavyweights of the same range as the one cited for the Sordariomycetes, with their batch of novelties and reclassifications. The hybrid format between a systematic catalogue and a catalogue of descriptions is quite a controversial one. It generates a volume that is difficult to digest (855 pages when combining the two of them). Of course the subject is vast, but how should reviewers take a critical look at such a work? Inmidst this huge pile of paper we noted for example the new order Catinellales, with only one family, the Catinellaceae, with the well-known Catinella olivacea (Batsch) Boud. as a type.

Catinella olivacea
Catinella olivacea © N. Van Vooren
 
References:
Haridas S., Albert R., Binder M., et al. 2020. 101 Dothideomycetes genomes: A test case for predicting lifestyles and emergence of pathogens. Studies in Mycology, 96: 141-153. doi: 10.1016/j.simyco.2020.01.003
Hongsanan S., Hyde K.D., Phookamsak R., et al. 2020a. Refined families of Dothideomycetes: Dothideomycetidae and Pleosporomycetidae. Mycosphere, 11: 1553-2107. doi: 10.5943/mycosphere/11/1/13
Hongsanan S., Hyde K.D., Phookamsak R., et al. 2020b. Refined families of Dothideomycetes: orders and families incertae sedis in Dothideomycetes. Fungal Diversity, 105: 17-318. doi: 10.1007/s13225-020-00462-6