February 24 2014

12:00 158 Hershey Hall

Anne Pringle
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

Life and Death in a Petersham Cemetery: Dispersal and Demography among the Fungi


Fungi are uniquely organized biological systems: apparently immortal, growing with modular and indeterminate body architectures, and able to use a range of unusual genetic mechanisms, including parasexuality, to generate genetic diversity. I use fungi as tools to test core principles of evolution and ecology, and in this talk, will focus on dispersal and demography. The dispersal of fungi is often perceived as passive; spores appear to drift with wind or water. I will describe experiments challenging that perception; in fact, fungi actively manipulate local environments to reach new habitats. Since 2005, I have collected demographic data from a population of lichens growing on tombstones of a New England Cemetery, and I will also describe how I am using these data to test whether filamentous fungi have escaped the evolution of senescence.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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