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My research focus explores the evolution of diversity in mushroom forming fungi and their relatives. It is fascinating to me that fungi are one of the most diverse groups of multicellular organisms, but exist in a microbial world that is practically unknown to us. To explore the historical and functional diversity of fungi I use phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences to address the factors that are involved in the migration of cosmopolitan fungi. Historical biogeography of fungi is virtually unexplored. My research has served to explain how particular lineages of Boletes originated in the tropics of Southeast Asia and China and into the New World. In addition, I have used phylogenies to address how ectomycorrhizal relationships have developed between specific groups of mushroom-forming fungi and their host plants, and also how the evolution of puffballs differs from that of their mushroom relatives.

Potential discussion topics:

  • Tropical diversity of mushroom forming fungi
  • Macrofungi of Tibet: picture voyage through a forbidden land and the discovery of new species of ectomycorrhizal fungi
  • The voyage of paleotropical ectomycorrhizal relationships to the new world
  • Once you go gasteroid, you don’t go back. Evaluating the question of whether puffballs will dominate the world of mushroom forming fungi.
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