​Laboratory of Fungal Ecology and Systematics

We study fungi that live in diverse and complex habitats. We use observational work to unravel fungal biodiversity and taxonomy as well as experimental work to understand fungal-insect and fungal-bacterial interactions. One particular model we focus on is the fungus-growing (attine) ants, insects that cultivate fungi for food. Colonies of these ants harbor additional symbiotic microbes like bacteria and fungi, including the genus Escovopsis and its allies (Escovopsioides, Luteomyces, and Sympodiorosea), all associates of the ant fungal cultivars. We also study the microbiota associated to fungus gardens to understand their diversity, metabolic functions, how they build biofims in these habitats and putative applications for human welfare. 

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