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BAMS General Meeting

Sara Branco: Understanding fungal diversity from a population perspective
UC Berkeley, 338 Koshland Hall
Tuesday, April 15, 2014| 7:30 — 9:30 pm


Sara Branco

Fungi are hyperdiverse organisms that assemble in dynamic and complex communities and details on individual species are crucial for understanding such complicated assemblages. Studying fungal populations allows understanding how specific species live in nature, which is crucial for a full appreciation of fungal diversity. Populations can tell us about how and why species are distributed across the landscape and whether specific environments act to differentiate populations by imprinting genetic diversity. Ultimately, population-level studies shed light on the processes involved in the formation of new species.

Branco studies populations of Suillus brevipes, an ectomycorrhizal fungus associated with pine trees. She uses whole genomes of S. brevipes individuals across North America to assess 1) whether there are different populations of the species across the continent, 2) how genetically different potential populations are, and 3) if local environments are related to genetic differentiation. Results from her study will contribute not only for a better appreciation for the ecology and evolution of S. brevipes, but more importantly, will inform on the way ectomycorrhizal fungal species occur and evolve in their natural environments.

Sara is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. She fell in love with fungi at age 16 and has been studying fungi ever since. She is interested in fungal diversity, ecology and evolution and has studied fungal communities both in Europe and the US and more recently started a focusing on the population genomics of Suillus brevipes.

Doors open at 7:30. Meeting starts promptly at 8:00.

BAMS General Meeting

Dr. Tom Bruns: Roles of Fungi in Forest Ecosystems
UC Berkeley, 338 Koshland Hall
Thursday, May 15, 2014| 7:30 — 9:30 pm


Tom Bruns

Fungi interact with forest ecosystems in many ways. Some of these interactions have direct and obvious effects on forests and others are more subtle but equally significant. This talk will guide you through several examples that make the point that forest systems are inescapably fungal systems.

Prof. Tom Bruns received his PhD from the University of Michigan in Botany in 1987, and went on to a postdoctoral position at the University of California Berkeley, where he joined the faculty in 1989. His research is focused on fungal ecology and systematics and he has published over 150 scientific papers in this area.

He is a recent past president of the Mycological Society of America, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Science, and the Mycological Society of America. He teaches introductory and advanced courses on fungi at Berkeley, and has won distinquished teaching awards from the College of Natural Resources and the Mycological Society of America for his efforts.

Doors open at 7:30. Meeting starts promptly at 8:00.