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Occurrence of Phoma Sacc. in the phyllosphere of Neogene Siwalik forest of Arunachal sub-Himalaya and its palaeoecological implications

Vishnu (née Mandal), Arkamitra, Khan, Mahasin Ali, Bera, Meghma, Acharya, Krishnendu, Dilcher, David L., Bera, Subir
Fungal biology 2019 v.123 no.1 pp. 18-28
Dipterocarpus, Dysoxylum, Miocene epoch, Phoma, Pleistocene epoch, Poaceae, Shorea, epiphytes, evergreen forests, fungi, host-parasite relationships, humid zones, leaves, morphs, new species, paleoecology, phyllosphere, pycnidia, sediments, Himalayan region, India
The present study reports in situ occurrence of two new epiphyllous fungal species of Phomites (comparable to modern genus Phoma Sacc.) on angiospermic leaf remains recovered from the Siwalik sediments (middle Miocene to early Pleistocene) of Arunachal Pradesh, eastern Himalaya. We describe two new species i.e. Phomites siwalicus Vishnu, Khan et Bera S, sp. nov. and Phomites neogenicus Vishnu, Khan et Bera S, sp. nov. on the basis of structural details of pycnidia. The pycnidium is a globose or slightly lens-shaped, ostiolate with a collar layer consisting of thick walled cells, sunken in leaf cuticle, with one-celled conidiospores and short-ampulliform conidiogenous cells. Host leaves resemble to those of extant Dipterocarpus C. F. Gaertn., Shorea Roxb. ex C. F. Gaertn. (Dipterocarpaceae), Dysoxylum Blume (Meliaceae), and Poaceae Barnhart. In situ occurrence of two Phomites morphotypes on the said leaf remains suggests a possible host–parasite interaction in the moist evergreen forest of Arunachal sub-Himalaya during Mio-Pleistocene period. The occurrence of Phomites in appreciable numbers indicates a humid climate favored by high rate of precipitation during Siwalik sedimentation, which is also consistent with our previously published climatic data obtained from the study of the macroscopic plant remains.