Our lab group does research in the area of fungal biology in which we study taxonomy, life histories, and systematics – particularly of fungi in the Pezizomycetes, the Orbiliomycetes and recently in the Laboulbeniomycetes. 
  • Pfister, D. (Photographer). (2008) Fistulina after harvest  [photograph]. Punta Arenas, Chile.

    Pfister, D. (Photographer). (2008) Fistulina after harvest [photograph]. Punta Arenas, Chile.

  • Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Laetiporus sulphureus – Chicken of the woods. [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

    Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Laetiporus sulphureus – Chicken of the woods. [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

  • Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Trichaptum biforme [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

    Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Trichaptum biforme [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

  • Pfister, D. (Photographer). (2008) Peziza, a cup fungus [photograph]. Punta Arenas, Chile.

    Pfister, D. (Photographer). (2008) Peziza, a cup fungus [photograph]. Punta Arenas, Chile.

  • Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Gloeoporus-dichrousl [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

    Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Gloeoporus-dichrousl [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

  • Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Mycena sp. [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

    Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Mycena sp. [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

  • Pfister, D. (Photographer). (2008) Cyttaria, a fungal parasite of Nothofagus [photograph]. Punta Arenas, Chile.

    Pfister, D. (Photographer). (2008) Cyttaria, a fungal parasite of Nothofagus [photograph]. Punta Arenas, Chile.

  • Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Polyporus alveolaris [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

    Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Polyporus alveolaris [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

  • Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Schizophyllum commune – Split Gill [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

    Haelwaters, D. (Photographer). (2013). Schizophyllum commune – Split Gill [photograph]. Hingham, MA: Worlds End.

Recent Publications

More Than Just Plants: Botanical Gardens Are an Untapped Source of Fungal Diversity

Bradshaw, M.J., et al., 2022. More Than Just Plants: Botanical Gardens Are an Untapped Source of Fungal Diversity . HortScience , 57 (10) , pp. 1289-1293. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Botanical gardens have extensive spatial databases of their plant specimens; however,
the fungi occurring in them are generally unstudied. Botanical gardens, with their great plant diversity, undoubtedly harbor a wide range of symbiotic fungi, including those that are plant-pathogenic. One such group of fungi is powdery mildews (Erysiphaceae). The powdery mildews are among the most prevalent and economically important plant pathogens in the world, with an estimated 906 species in 19 genera. They are known to infect more than 10,000 species of flowering plants and although some species occur across a range of hosts, many are associated with specific plants. Powdery mildews have undergone a long and dynamic coevolution with their host plants, resulting
in co-speciation. Botanical gardens provide a living laboratory in which to study these fungi, leading to a wealth of undiscovered fungal diversity. Furthermore, monitoring pathogens in botanical gardens has led to important ecological findings related to the plant sciences and plant protection. Between 2018 and 2022, a collaborative citizen science project was established with 10 botanical gardens in the United States and Mexico. A total of more than 300 powdery mildew specimens were collected on 220 different host taxa. We sequenced the entire internal transcribed spacer
(ITS) and large subunit (LSU) rDNA loci and phylogenetically and morphologically analyzed these collections revealing 130 species, of which 31 are likely unknown to science. This research highlights the importance of botanical gardens as a reservoir of fungal diversity. Future research will further elucidate the coevolutionary relationship between powdery mildews and their hosts and extend the current study to evaluate other plant pathogens and fungi in botanical gardens.
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Secondary DNA Barcodes (CAM, GAPDH, GS, and RpB2) to Characterize Species Complexes and Strengthen the Powdery Mildew Phylogeny

Bradshaw, M., et al., 2022. Secondary DNA Barcodes (CAM, GAPDH, GS, and RpB2) to Characterize Species Complexes and Strengthen the Powdery Mildew Phylogeny. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Powdery mildews are a group of economically and ecologically important plant pathogens. In the past 25 years the use of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) in the powdery mildews has led to major taxonomic revisions. However, the broad scale use of rDNA has also revealed multiple species complexes that cannot be differentiated based on ITS + LSU data alone. Currently, there are only two powdery mildew taxonomic studies that took a multi-locus approach to resolve a species complex. In the present study, we introduce primers to sequence four additional regions (CAM, GAPDH, GS, and RPB2) that have the potential to improve support values in both broad and fine scale phylogenetic analyses. The primers were applied to a broad set of powdery mildew genera in China and the United States, and phylogenetic analyses included some of the common complexes. In taxa with nearly identical ITS sequences the analyses revealed a great amount of diversity. In total 154 non-rDNA sequences from 11 different powdery mildew genera were deposited in NCBI’s GenBank, laying the foundation for secondary barcode databases for powdery mildews. The combined and single loci phylogenetic trees constructed generally followed the previously defined species/genus concepts for the powdery mildews. Future research can use these primers to conduct in depth phylogenetic, and taxonomic studies to elucidate the evolutionary relationships of species and genera within the powdery mildews.
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Species of the common discomycete genus Bisporella reassigned to at least four genera

Mitchell, J.K., et al., 2022. Species of the common discomycete genus Bisporella reassigned to at least four genera. Mycologia. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bisporella as typically conceived is a genus of noticeable, bright yellow inoperculate discomycetes. This interpretation of the genus, however, is at odds with Bisporella pallescens, the current name of the type species of the genus; furthermore, the genus has been interpreted as including the unusual species Bisporella resinicola. By comparing morphological and molecular traits of species traditionally included in Bisporella, we show that the genus is polyphyletic, with many “typical” members of the genus belonging instead in Calycina in Pezizellaceae. Bisporella pallescens is conclusively linked with its asexual morph, Bispora antennata, and the genus Bisporella is abandoned as a later synonym of the monotypic genus Bispora (previously applied only to asexual fungi) and placed as sister to Hymenoscyphus in Helotiaceae. Bisporella resinicola is shown to represent an independent monotypic genus, Eustilbum, which so far is placed incertae sedis in Helotiales. Finally, “Bisporella” subpallida, like Bispora, belongs to Helotiaceae but is instead related to “Phaeohelotium” epiphyllum.
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A reexamination and realignment of Peziza sensu lato (Pezizomycetes) species in southern South America/Un reexamen y revisión de las especies de Peziza sensu lato (Pezizomycetes) en el cono sur de Sudamérica

Pfister, D.H., et al., 2022. A reexamination and realignment of Peziza sensu lato (Pezizomycetes) species in southern South America/Un reexamen y revisión de las especies de Peziza sensu lato (Pezizomycetes) en el cono sur de Sudamérica. Darwiniana , 10 (1) , pp. 148-177. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this study we review recent collections and historical records of epigeous members of the Pezizales formerly placed in the large, heterogenous genus Peziza from temperate southern South America. Recent analyses using molecular phylogenetic methods allow placement of these species in several previously described genera in recognition of the heterogeneity of Peziza. We include species in nine genera, describe one new species (Peziza gamundiae sp. nov.), and propose one new combination (Phylloscypha nothofageti comb. nov.). We also demonstrate that Pustularia microspora is a synonym of the previously described taxon Peziza pseudosylvestris. Our purpose is to draw attention to these taxa in order to promote their collection and study in a modern framework.

En este trabajo hemos revisado material fresco y colecciones históricas de Pezizales epigeos formalmente incluidos en el amplio y heterogéneo género Peziza provenientes de las zonas templadas del sur de Sudamérica. Estudios recientes basados en filogenias moleculares han permitido posicionar estas especies en varios géneros previamente descritos demostrando su heterogeneidad. Incluimos aquí especies de nueve géneros, una especie nueva para la ciencia (Peziza gamundiae sp. nov.) y proponemos una nueva combinación (Phylloscypha nothofageti comb. nov.). También demostramos que Pustularia microspora es sinónimo de un taxón previamente descrito como Peziza pseudosylvestris. Nuestro objetivo es llamar la atención sobre la presencia de estos taxa para promover su recolección y estudio en trabajos científicos modernos.

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Exploration of Marine Lichenized Fungi as Bioindicators of Coastal Ocean Pollution in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

Nokes, L.F., Haelewaters, D. & ., P.D.H., 2022. Exploration of Marine Lichenized Fungi as Bioindicators of Coastal Ocean Pollution in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Rhodora , 122 (992) , pp. 251–273. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This preliminary exploration of marine lichenized fungi (lichens) as bioindicators of water pollution examined the distribution of intertidal lichen communities in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area with respect to recorded pollution throughout the harbor. We found significant negative associations between pollution measurements and the health of the lichen community based on cover and species richness. We also observed significant differences in species composition between areas of higher pollution and areas of lower pollution, though not enough data are available to establish the pollution sensitivity or tolerance of individual species. We note that difficulties in the collection and identification of marine lichens hamper efforts to use them broadly as bioindicators. This study suggests that marine lichens could prove useful as bioindicators, but more research is needed to understand the differential effects of pollution on individual species as well as to establish practical procedures both for quantifying marine lichen community health and for widespread bioindication using marine lichens. Finally, one species collected during this study, Verrucaria ceuthocarpa, represents a first report for the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
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