Investigation of fungal life-history strategies

We offer a master project within fungal life-history strategies that can be a part of the ecology and evolution master's degree at the University of Oslo. 

fungi, wood, forest

Photo: Brice Cooper, Unsplash 

Fungi are important members of terrestrial ecosystems, but we lack much basic knowledge about their life cycles and life history strategies - and how these are influence by the environment. This lack of knowledge is partly because fungi largely grow hidden belowground, except for the fruiting stage, where they produce aboveground fruiting bodies.  We can supervise different MSc-projects focusing on fungal life history strategies. Tentative projects will be discussed with the students. Some preliminary ideas include the following topics:

  • Can trade-offs among fungal life history strategies be observed? Some fungi are tolerant to environmental stress, while others are adapted to fast growth and performance under more optimal conditions. This project will investigate whether a trade-off can be observed among these two strategies.
  • Demographic structure in fungi. By investigating the age structure of perennial fruit bodies of the polypore fungus Fomitopsis pinicola, the demographic structure across populations of this species - and how it is affected by environmental variability (e.g. climate) – will be studied.
  • Performance of mono- versus dikaryotic mycelia. Many fungi have a monokaryotic, as well as a dikaryotic stage during their life cycle, but little is known whether different ecological strategies have evolved for these two phases, which will be assessed in this project.
  • Mating systems, life-history and ecology. Fungi have widely different mating systems, regulating the level of outcrossing and inbreeding. However, why different mating strategies occur in different species are not clear. In this project, the mating system will be investigated in light of species’ distribution and ecology, as well as other life-history traits, to gain knowledge on why different species possess different mating systems.


Håvard Kauserud (Evogene), Inger Skrede (Evogene), Sandy Maurice (Evogene), Yngvild Vindenes (CEES)

Published May 4, 2021 1:55 PM - Last modified May 4, 2021 3:39 PM