Visitors: Ester Gaya

Photo:Valérie Reeb

Ester Gaya

2001: Three-month visit to learn molecular and phylogenetic techniques, as well as to revise the Chicago Field Museum’s collection of Caloplaca.

2002: Five-week visit to learn phylogenetic methods, assist to the course ‘Phylogenetics’ (by François Lutzoni and Stefan Zoller), and finalize two manuscripts.

2006-present: Ester is currently in the Lutzoni Lab on a Fulbright fellowship in order to continue work on the systematics and phylogeny of lichen-forming fungi in the 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.