Research Interests

Systematics of vertebrate-associated ascomycetes, life-history reconstruction of anamorph-rich ascomycetes, diversity and distribution of keratin-degrading ascomycetes in northern environments.

Current Research

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.