October 2006 – Welcome, Ester Gaya, Postdoctoral Research Associate
We are excited to welcome Ester Gaya, who is just beginning a post-doctoral position here in the Lutzoni Lab. Ester is currently visiting on a Fulbright fellowship in order to continue work on the systematics and phylogeny of the lichen-forming fungi family Teloschistaceae (Teloschistales, Ascomycota). She is especially interested in the genus Caloplaca, which is considered to be one of the most complex and diversified crustose lichen genera. The delimitation among genera included within the family Teloschistaceae is still highly artificial and in need of revision, especially for the closely related species within Caloplaca, Fulgensia, Teloschistes, and Xanthoria. The main goals of her phylogenetic studies are to resolve relationships among the main lineages of this family and also the order Teloschistales, specifically to provide a more stable classification of these lichen-forming fungi. To reach these goals, she is using an integrated approach based on detailed morphological, anatomical, chemical (secondary compounds), biogeographical, and molecular data.