Current Projects

The lichen genus Peltigera in Alberta, Canada. As part of my current work as a graduate student in the Lutzoni Lab, I am sequencing barcoding loci for the mycobiont and photobiont of Peltigera specimens collected from permanent monitoring sites across the Canadian province of Alberta. The goal of this project is to understand the diversity of this genus in the province and the influence of mycobiont–photobiont specificity on the distribution of Peltigera species.

Lichens of South Africa. In 2015, Dr. Alan Fryday, Dr. Nishanta Rajakaruna, Dr. Stephan Siebert, Arnold Frisby, and I collected saxicolous lichens in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa for a National Geographic Society-funded project looking at trends in lichen diversity and abundance on different rock types along a rainfall gradient. We are currently identifying the many lichen samples collected during this trip. Because there are many gaps in our knowledge of South Africa’s lichens, this ecological project also involves a fair amount of first-order taxonomic work.

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Working on South African lichens at the Beal-Darlington Herbarium at Michigan State University (MSC). Photo: Alan Fryday.

Evolution and taxonomy of Graphidaceae. Under the supervision of Dr. Robert Lücking and Dr. Thorsten Lumbsch, I’m working on a few different projects with lichens of the family Graphidaceae: putting together phylogenetic trees, describing new species, and compiling a monograph for one of the tribes of this very large family. This work began with my REU at the Field Museum in 2014.

Ecology of serpentinite outcrops in Massachusetts. My senior thesis research at College of the Atlantic was concerned with the plants, lichens, and bryophytes of adjacent serpentinite, amphibolite, and schist outcrops in western Massachusetts. I am still analyzing data collected during this project and working to turn my thesis into a manuscript for publication

 

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