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Faculty of Science
Research in the Berbee laboratory focuses on the diversity and molecular phylogenetics of fungi. Fungi and animals shared a common ancestor over a billion years ago. Since that time, animals evolved into herbivores and predators while fungi became specialized as decay agents and recyclers in the environment; as plant and animal pathogens; and as symbionts contributing as mycorrhizal partners to plant growth. Through a combination of field and laboratory work, students and postdoctoral researchers are finding and culturing fungi and fungus-like organisms, many of them new to science, and then applying microscopic and molecular phylogenetic techniques to place the origin and diversification of the fungi in a phylogenetic context.