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Fungi and Lichens

Field Museum mycologists are interested in documenting and understanding the diversity and biogeography of fungi, the effect of human activity on this diversity, the evolutionary relationships among the fungi, and the mutually beneficial symbioses (mutualisms) such as lichens and mycorrhizae that fungi form with plants. To do this they travel the world collecting new species, documenting diversity, and studying fungal ecology. Back at the museum they study the museum's collections using computer-assisted microscopy, high speed computers, and molecular biology techniques to further investigate these questions. They also are actively involved with developing the next generation of mycologists by training undergraduate and graduate students.