Phylogenetic trees, the branching diagrams that represent historical relationships among genes, genomes and species, are used in virtually all biological disciplines, including epidemiology, comparative genomics, molecular genetics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. For example, the tree below shows a dated phylogeny of the Ebola virus, which provides clues to the geographic origins of the current outbreak. The ability to understand and interpret phylogenetic trees is an essential skill for all biologists.
Molecular Systematics and Evolution will be a practical, hands-on course in phylogenetic methods. Topics to be discussed include evolution of genes and genomes, methods for estimating evolutionary relationships using molecular data, and applications of molecular data to general problems in biology (e.g., diversification of gene families, historical biogeography, molecular clock dating, and character evolution). The course will include lectures, student-led discussions, laboratory projects using computer-based applications, and presentations.
Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102
Meeting time and place: Friday 1:25-4:25, Lasry rm 355
Enrollment cap: 12
For more information, please contact the instructors: David Hibbett and Romina Gazis
Our friend and Open Tree of Life collaborator Stephen Smith visited from the University of Michigan this week. Here is a hazy photo from his seminar for the Biology Department.
The second biennial MassMyco meeting was held Saturday at Harvard Forest. As before, this was a wonderful, friendly meeting with a remarkably diverse range of topics presented, including: maternal effects in fungi, mechanisms of manganese oxide formation by ascomycetes, canker disease of jackfruit in Bangladesh, effects of nitrogen deposition on fungal communities and decomposition rates, arboreal amoeba-trapping discomycetes, and lots more. This is a great meeting for undergraduates, such as Sam Kovaka and Sara Waldman from Clark, who presented posters on their summer projects (photos below–more here).
The New England mycology scene is getting stronger, with a number of recent hires at local universities. Speakers at this year’s MassMyco included Jenny Talbot, who just joined the faculty at Boston University, Ben Wolfe, who is a new professor at Tufts, and Kevin Drees, who was representing Jeff Foster’s new lab at the University of New Hampshire (not to mention our new colleague John Gibbons, who was not at the meeting but has just joined the faculty at Clark). It will be exciting to hear from these groups and others at the third MassMyco in 2016.
Dorothy Tang and Sara Waldman with Sara’s poster on relationships of Stiptophyllum.
Sam Kovaka, with a poster describing research at the Joint Genome Institute.
Alicia presenting research on the magnificent and diverse Gomphales
On Sunday, Sept. 21, the Boston Mycological Club held a foray at the Upton State Forest, where we were hosted by the Friends of the Upton State Forest. The weather has been dry but we still found a lot of mushrooms. As the finds came in, we distributed them on two tables; on one the fungi were arranged according to macromorphology (agarics, polypores, etc), as usual; on the second table the fungi were divided according to nutritional modes. A preliminary, partial checklist is at the bottom of this post.
Bill Taylor (FUSF) introduced the history of the property before everyone went collecting. Photo by Marcella Stasa
Some of the fungi that resulted from an hour and half of collecting by the group. Photo by Mary Beauchamp.
Sorting by form. Photo by Marcella Stasa.
Sorting by ecology. Photo by Marcella Stasa.
Some fungi are hard to categorize. Photo by Marcella Stasa.
Preliminary (and incomplete) checklist of finds:
- Bisporella citrina
- Chlorociboria aeruginascens
- Chlorosplenium chlora
- Coccomyces tumidum
- Dasyscyphus virgineus
- Hyalorbilia sp.
- Hypocrea sp.
- Rhytisma sp. on leaves of Ilex verticillata
- Rosellinia subiculata
- Daedalea quercina
- Exidia recisa
- Ganoderma applanatum
- Piptoporus betulinus
- Postia fragilis
- Scleroderma citrina
- Steccherinum ochraceum
- Stereum complicatum
- Stereum ostrea
- Tapinella atrotomentosa
- Tomentella sp.
- Trametes versicolor
- Tremella mesenterica
- Trichaptum biforme
- Tyromyces chioneus