​Laboratory of Fungal Ecology and Systematics

Our laboratory focuses on fungi that undergo in symbiotic associations. We are particularly interested in the fungus-growing (attine) ants, insects that cultivate fungi for survival. Our group explores the parasitic fungal genus Escovopsis which consumes the fungus cultivated by attine ants. Using polyphasic taxonomy we are unravelling the diversity of this parasite (and other fungi) as well as understanding its evolutionary adaptations to parasitize the ant fungus. In addition, members of our lab also focus on the ecology: (i) of endophytic fungi in plants of the Atlantic Rain Forest; (ii) of saprobic fungi in leaf-litter decomposition and (iii) of extremophilic fungi found in composting systems.