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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Fungi are critical components of our world, contributing to ecosystem function and the global economy. As many fungi live out their lives at sizes smaller than can be perceived with the naked eye, there are large gaps in our knowledge related to the ecology and evolution of fungal diversity and function. It has only been in recent years with the advent of next-generation sequencing that we have begun to understand how fungal communities function in different ecological settings and how they have been structured over evolutionary time. Fungi are known to live their lives in different ways (i.e., ecological guilds) including as pathogens, endophytes, saprobes, and mycorrhizae, and the important functional traits they employ may differ within and across ecological guilds. However, there is frequently little discourse among biologists studying different fungal guilds. Finally, although next-generation sequencing is increasingly one of the main tools we use to study these organisms, we do not yet have community-approved standards and protocols, meaning it can be difficult to compare findings across studies. The objective of our working group is to use this emerging data stream to address previously unanswerable questions in fungal ecology and evolutionary biology at refined taxonomic and expanded spatial scales. The two workshops proposed here will bring together a diverse group of fungal ecologists and evolutionary biologists, as well as plant biologists who bring interdisciplinary expertise on ecological theory from a closely related field.

Working Group Participants

Principal Investigator(s)

Mark P. Schildhauer, Amy E. Zanne

Project Dates

Start: April 1, 2016

End: March 31, 2018



Michelle Afkhami
University of California, Davis
Carlos Aguilar-Trigueros
Freie University Berlin
M. Catherine Aime
Purdue University
Scott Bates
Mary Berbee
University of British Columbia
Posy E. Busby
Duke University
Ignazio Carbone
University of North Carolina
Natalie Christian
Indiana University
Will K. Cornwell
University of New South Wales
Tom Crowther
Yale University
Bryn Dentinger
University of Utah
Dimitrios Floudas
Lund University
Romina O. Gazis-Seregina
University of Tennessee
David Hibbett
Clark University
Chris Todd Hittinger
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Timothy James
University of Michigan
Peter Kennedy
University of Minnesota
Daniel L. Lindner
USDA Forest Service
Francois M. Lutzoni
Duke University
Daniel S. Maynard
Yale University
Amy M. Milo
George Washington University
Habacuc Flores Moreno
University of New South Wales
Henrik Nilsson
University of Gothenburg
Brad Oberle
George Washington University
Kabir Peay
Stanford University
Jeff Powell
Western Sydney University
Marisol Sanchez Garcia
Uppsala University
Mark P. Schildhauer
University of California, Santa Barbara
Jonathan Schilling
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Stephen A. Smith
University of Michigan
Joey Spatafora
Oregon State University
Jason Stajich
University of California, Riverside
Jennifer Talbot
Boston University
Kathleen K. Treseder
University of California, Irvine
Nathaneal Walker-Hale
University of Cambridge
Amy E. Zanne
George Washington University


  1. Journal Article / 2019

    Fungal functional ecology: Bringing a trait-based approach to plant-associated fungi