Summer 2015 meetings

fileThe 2015 summer meeting season was short but busy, starting with the joint meeting of the Mycological Society of America and Botanical Society of America, in Edmonton, Alberta (July 25-29). Members of our lab were involved in six presentations (titles below). Two posters focused on developmental biology of Lentinus tigrinus, one presented by Alicia Knudson and the other by Laszlo Nagy’s post-doc, Krisztina Krizsan. It is very exciting to see empirical research on my favorite mushroom moving ahead. Alfredo Justo gave a paper describing a new family-level classification for the Polyporales—this is a fitting capstone for the PolyPEET project, which will end next year. Laszlo and I co-presented a paper in a symposium on the “Rise and Fall of Photosynthate” that was organized by Mary Berbee. The presentation focused on early evolution of lignocellulolysis in Agaricomycetes and was coauthored with Laszlo and Dimitris Floudas. Among other things, we presented results obtained with Laszlo’s COMPARE pipeline, which allowed us to identify 408 gene families whose diversification appears to be correlated with the evolution of white rot. I was also included in the long list of coauthors on a report from the 1000 fungal genomes project, presented by Jason Stajich. Romina Gazis presented the latest results from the Open Tree of Life project, which will soon appear in PNAS. Other Clark-affiliated talks included a presentation by John Gibbons, one of our newest faculty members in Biology, on copy number variation in Cryptococcus, and a talk by my former student Jason Slot on evolution of fungal metabolic pathways involving degradation of plant phenolics. Andy Wilson, another former student, presented preliminary results of population genetic analyses in Laccaria.

icom_final_transparent_smallImmediately after MSA, Romina headed off to the 8th International Conference on Mycorrhizae, where she presented Open Tree work, and I went to a Gordon Conference on “Cellulosomes, Cellulases & Other Carbohydrate Modifying Enzymes” where I presented a paper on phylogenomics and CAZyme evolution in the keynote session (along with Jerry Stahlberg, who spoke on mechanisms of cellulase activity). The GRC was organized by Kiyihiko Igarashi and Bernard Henrissat, and it was mainly focused on mechanistic aspects of CAZYme function, but there 198401_114928635342695_181601718_nwas a fair amount of ecology and evolution as well. This was my first GRC and it was tremendously fun, as well as educational. The meeting was held at the very posh Proctor Academy (they have their own ski slope!), which is surrounded by mountains and forests. There was a three hour break every afternoon, which provided opportunities for swimming, hiking and mushroom-hunting.

Mushrooms collected on a foray at the GRC.

Mushrooms collected on a foray at the GRC.

Bradley Lake from Mt. Kearsarge. Proctor Academy in Andover, NH, is visible just behind and to the left of the lake, which is within walking distance of the GRC site.

Bradley Lake, from Mt. Kearsarge. The lake is within walking distance of Proctor Academy (the GRC site) and is good for swimming.

GRC attendees, squinting into the morning sun.

GRC attendees, squinting into the morning sun.

MSA presentations (titles link to abstrcts):

Knudson, Alicia, Kovaka, Sam, Hibbett, David. Fruiting body plasticity in Lentinus tigrinus and light signaling pathways in Agaricomycetes.

Krizsan, Krisztina, Almasi, Eva, Kohler, Annegret, Martin, Francis, Hibbett, David, Nagy, Laszlo. Behind the scenes: a transcriptomic study of the genomic processes underlying the evolution of complex fruiting body morphologies in Agaricomycetes.

Justo, Alfredo, Floudas, Dimitrios, Ortiz-Santana, Beatriz, Miettinen, Otto, Hibbett, David. A revised family-level classification of the Polyporales (Basidiomycota).

Hibbett, David S., Nagy, Laszlo G., Floudas, Dimitrios. The origin and impact of lignin decomposition in basidiomycetes.

Stajich, Jason, Aime, M. Catherine,  Berbee, Mary, Binder, Manfred, Crous, Pedro W., Grigoriev, Igor, Hibbett, David, James, Timothy, Martin, Sara, Nagy, Laszlo, Spatafora, Joey, Consortium, 1000 Fungal Genomes. Evolutionary genomics of early branches of the fungal tree.

Gazis, Romina, Smith, Stephen, Cranston, Karen, Brown, Joseph, Rees, Jonathan, Hibbett, David. Fungi in the Open Tree of Life.

Steenwyk, Jacob, Gibbons, John. Cryptic Diversity in the Cryptococcus gattii Genome Revealed through Population-Level Sequencing.

Slot, Jason, Greene, George, Rokas, Antonis, Vijayakumar, Vinod, Gluck-Thaler, Emile. Investigating adaptation to plant phenolic compounds through fungal evolutionary genomics.