Lab Members: Shannon Skarha

P1000206Photo: Betsy Arnold. Alaskan tundra, July 2022, featuring Masonhalea richardsonii.

Shannon M. Skarha

Ph.D. student
Department of Biology
Duke University


M.Sc., Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation
Queen Mary University of London, UK, 2017

B.Sc., Biology
Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL, USA, 2016

Research Interests
My research interests pertain to exploring the relationship between lichens and their fungal endophytes, as well as other members of the lichenic microbial community. I’m curious about the species diversity, richness, and distribution of fungal endophytes across many types of lichens, as well as the metabolic activities of both the fungal endophytes and lichenic hosts. I want to better understand how lichens obtain their fungal endophytes and how these microbial communities may vary across as time, spatial scales, host identity, and other environmental factors, including how lichens may help researchers track changes in imperiled ecosystems over time. Ultimately, my research aims to improve how we approach the complex interactions between the plant and fungal kingdoms and the evolution of symbiosis.