Blogs & Videos: Lichens

Field Museum researchers and collaborators describe 175 new lichen species in a single family at once

Recent studies of the global diversity of the lichenized fungal family Graphidaceae suggest that there are a large number of species remaining to be discovered.Recent studies of the global diversity of the lichenized fungal family Graphidaceae suggest that there are a large number of species remaining to be discovered.

Tropical Lichen Research Featured in Scientific Business Journal

In an NSF-funded project over the past five years, Field Museum Adjunct Curator Robert Lücking held 42 workshops on tropical mycology and lichenology (the study of fungi and lichens) in 16 countries throughout Latin America, with a total of 648 participants from 24 countries. The workshops provided training in fungal and lichen taxonomy, quantitative methods for ecological studies, and molecular tools. Over 50 thesis works were supported through the project, both at graduate (PhD, Master) and undergraduate level (Licenciatura, Grado, Scientific Initiation), and about 20 have been completed thus far. In addition, more than 50 collaborative scientific papers have so far resulted from this project, among other topics featuring the discovery of more than one hundred species new to science.

New Caledonia Botanical Expedition 2012

An international team of eight scientists from Thailand, New Zealand, France, and the U.S., conducted fieldwork in New Caledonia during September and October, 2012. New Caledonia is one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots (and one of the smallest—about the size of New Jersey) with exceptional biological and ecological diversity. This group of islands is located in the South Pacific at the southern extremity of the Melanesian region, 1,200 km east of Australia.

Meeting to find the best gene to DNA barcode fungi

Over 50 participants met from April 16-18, 2011 in Amsterdam to discuss the best gene for DNA barcoding of fungi (incl. lichens).  During this session data ITS, was identified as the best gene, based on the ease of amplification across all groups, and will be recommended as a fungal barcode.  A publication is now being prepared with full analyses of comparison of genes.

Tracing the Paleogeographical History of Hawaii

One way to trace the paleographical history of a landmass or archipelago is the reconstruction of the phylogeny of its organisms, by means of DNA sequence analysis. For example, if the closest living relatives of a group of species found on the Galapagos Islands occur in Peru, it can be assumed that for these group of organisms, colonization took place from somewhere in central western South America. This might vary between groups of organisms, since each group has different means of dispersal and mobility.