Speciation and alpha taxonomy of host-specific Diatrypaceae species (Ascomycota)
A master project in fungal taxonomy and evolution.
Section through Eutypa flavovirens stroma. Photo: Inger Skrede
This master project aims to study selected ‘species pairs’ or ‘species complexes’ of the pyrenomycete family Diatrypaceae (Xylariales). Many Diatrypaceae species are very common on wood and bark of broadleaved trees and are easy to spot and identify as belonging to this family. However, the identities of many species are debated or poorly known, and many cryptic species may remain undescribed. Slightly morphologically different forms of one ‘species’ may occur on different host plants, and these may either represent variable species or species complexes, for example within Diatrypella favacea s.l., the Diatrype stigma-group, Eutypa flavovirens (see picture), and species within Eutypella. In the project, you will study such cases to delimit species supported by morphological (teleomorph and anamorph), ecological and genetic characters. Some specimens found on the ‘wrong’ host plant may represent new species and you will be able to take part in the description and naming of species. By mapping the ecological niches on phylogenetic trees it is possible to draw conclusions about speciation events.
For Ascomycota only a few percent of the existing species are yet known to science. In this thesis you’ll be part of a Biodiversity Mapping Project and contribute to a field within mycology that is in high demand of taxonomic and phylogenetic expertise. By participating in field surveys you will learn diversity patterns, taxonomy and field identification skills. In the laboratory, you will learn microscope techniques to study the morphology of Ascomycota teleomorphs and anamorphs, ascospore isolation, pure culturing, DNA preparation, multimarker sequencing and bioinformatics. Depending on your interest, you can choose to focus more on aspects of speciation, adaptations, and genomics relating to ’species pairs’ identified during the surveys, or to delve into the field of (alpha)taxonomy with a good chance of taking part as an author of new species names.
Working at both NINA and UiO will give you experience and contacts within basic and applied aspects of mycology, as well as conservation biology. The master is part of the project ‘Surveys of pyrenomycetoid Ascomycota informed by host relations - species new to science of poorly studied families, and new country records’, financed by Artsdatabanken 2021-2024.
The candidate will be supervised by Inger Skrede at UiO, and by Björn Nordén and Mathias Andreasen at NINA.