Systematics of vertebrate-associated ascomycetes, life-history reconstruction of anamorph-rich ascomycetes, diversity and distribution of keratin-degrading ascomycetes in northern environments.
My research focuses on the ecology and phylogeny of selected lineages of structurally simple ascomycetes (Phylum Ascomycota). The first of these is the Herpotrichiellaceae, a family of slow-growing ascomycetes that encompasses a number of taxa capable of causing opportunistic infections in vertebrates. Current investigations of this family are aimed at better understanding the distribution, taxonomy and the evolutionary relationships of saprobic (non-pathogenic) representatives of this family. The second ascomycete lineage that I study is the Onygenales, an order that includes keratin-degrading ascomycetes and the most important pathogens of mammals. My studies focus on the members of three families in this order and I am interested particularly in the abundance and distribution of the saprobic, keratin-degrading onygenalean fungi in northern and urban ecosystems. Finally, I investigate the systematics of the Chaetomiaceae, a family of cosmopolitan, cellulose-degrading microfungi isolated commonly from dung, soil and rotting plant material.
I collaborate with James Scott (University of Toronto) on studies that investigate the ecology and molecular systematics of domicile fungi and fungi from extreme environments. Martina Réblová (Czech Republic) and I study the systematics of a number of interesting and taxonomically perplexing lignicolous (wood-inhabiting) ascomycetes.