Phylogenetic evaluation of Geomyces and allies reveals no close relatives of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, comb. nov., in bat hibernacula of eastern North America

Andrew M. Minnis
Daniel L Lindner


White-nose syndrome (WNS) of bats, caused by the fungus previously known asGeomyces de-structans, has decimated populations of insectivorous bats in eastern North America. Recentwork on fungi associated with bat hibernacula uncovered a large number of species ofGeomy-cesandallies, farexceeding the numberofdescribedspecies. Communicationabout these spe-cies has been hindered by the lack of a modern taxonomic evaluation, and a phylogeneticframeworkofthegroupisneededtounderstandtheoriginofG.destructansandtotargetcloselyrelated species and their genomesfor the purposes of understanding mechanisms ofpathoge-nicity. We addressed these issues by generating DNA sequence data for the internal tran-scribed spacer (ITS) region, nuclear large subunit (LSU) rDNA,MCM7,RPB2,andTEF1froma diverse array ofGeomycesand allies that included isolates recovered from bat hibernaculaas well as those that represent important type species. Phylogenetic analyses indicateGeomy-cesand allies should be classified in the familyPseudeurotiaceae, and the generaGeomyces,Gym-nostellatospora,andPseudogymnoascusshould be recognized as distinct. TrueGeomycesarerestrictedtoabasallineagebasedonphylogeneticplacementofthetypespecies,Geomycesaur-atus.Thus,G. destructansis placed in genusPseudogymnoascus. The closest relatives ofPseudo-gymnoascusdestructansaremembersofthePseudogymnoascusroseusspeciescomplex,however,the isolated and long branch ofP. destructansindicates that none of the species included in thisstudyarecloselyrelated,thusprovidingfurthersupporttothehypothesisthatthispathogenisnon-native and invasive in eastern North America. Several conidia-producing isolates frombat hibernacula previously identified as members ofPseudeurotiumare determined to belongto the genusLeuconeurospora, which is widespread, especially in colder regions.Teberdiniahygrophilais transferred toPseudeurotiumasPseudeurotium hygrophilum, comb. nov., in accor-dancewiththeonenameperfungussystemofclassification,andtwoadditionalcombinationsare madeinPseudogymnoascusincludingPseud