Department of Microbial and Plant Interactions

Our current research groups and their activities

Laboratory of molecular ecology and mycology (MEM)

Laboratory of Molecular ecology and mycology (MEM) deals with functional diversity and interaction of fungi with other components of the environment. Fundamental requirement to understand processes in biological ecosystems is the knowledge of species evolution, phylogeny and adaptations. The laboratory has a tradition in taxonomic and phylogenetic research of fungi. Bioclimatic data are used to link fungal phylogeny with spatial distribution and ecological requirements of pathogenic and mycorrhizal fungal species. Taxonomic knowledge is implemented in metabarcoding studies of fungal communities using environmental DNA. Functional traits of individual fungal species are used to study responses of fungal communities to various ecological factors. The laboratory combines methods of advanced light microscopy, DNA extractions from single organism tissues and environmental DNA, phylogenetic analyses, metabarcoding bioinformatics, cultivations of pure fungal cultures and tracing of microbial enzymatic activities.

Evolutionary mechanisms and environmental interactions (EMEI)

The laboratory focuses on the evolutionary history, diversification, speciation mechanisms, and biogeography of green plants (Viridiplantae), lichenized and non-lichenized fungi.