International collaborative project on evolution of a tropical lichen family

Graphidaceae - one of the largest families of lichen-forming fungi in focus

Thorsten Lumbsch and Robert Luecking are working on a collaborative project with about 50 colleagues worldwide funded by the National Science Foundation.

Goals of the projects are to better understand the diversity and distribution of species and the evolution of this extremely variable group of lichen-forming fungi. Postdoc Sittiporn "Kong" Parnmen (see photo) is busy assembling DNA sequence data and keeping up with the incoming data and their analyses. Currently, he and former graduate student (now post doc at Duke University in the Lutzoni Lab) Eimy Rivas Plata are working on a "meta" phylogeny of the family. Printing out trees for this analysis is not trivial - as Kong demonstrates.