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Speaker Biography

David S. Hibbett

David Hibbett is Professor of Biology at Clark University. He is interested in fungal systematics, comparative analyses of character evolution and diversification, evolution of nutritional modes in Basidiomycota, phyloinformatics, and historical biogeography. He is the current Vice President of the Mycological Society of America, Executive Vice President of the Society of Systematic Biologists, and a participant in the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life (AFTOL) consortium.

Click here for his laboratory web site

Abstract: Knowing and growing the fungal tree of life

David Hibbett, Clark University, USA

The basic goals of fungal systematics are to discover species and clades, and to translate those discoveries into names and classifications. In many regards, this work is going tremendously well. Understanding of the higher-level relationships of Fungi has advanced dramatically in recent years, and fungal phylogenies are providing the infrastructure for such disparate fields as biogeography, comparative genomics, analyses of diversification, and molecular clock dating. Reasonably accurate fungal phylogenies can now be found in introductory biology textbooks. But not all is rosy in fungal systematics. The rate of description of species, which are the fundamental units of communication (if not biodiversity), has held more or less steady in recent years, even as massively high throughput sequencing methods have been applied to the detection of Fungi in nature, and the most comprehensive published phylogenetic trees still contain a tiny fraction of the sequenced, let alone known (let alone actual) diversity of Fungi. In this talk, I will attempt to characterize the recent growth of knowledge regarding fungal diversity and phylogeny, and consider ways to accelerate both the discovery and communication of fungal biodiversity.