We are excited to welcome Shannon Skarha to the Lutzoni lab as a first-year Ph.D. student in the Duke Biology department. Shannon previously worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where she was a lab specialist in the conservation genetics program.
The Lutzoni lab (Dr. Scott LaGreca, Dr. François Lutzoni, Ian Medeiros, and Carlos Pardo De la Hoz) hosted a two-day lichen workshop for 15 junior and senior high school students from the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) in Durham. On the first day, students learned the different lichen growth forms and basic morphological structures within a teaching lab setting, and then went on a field trip to the Eno River State Park to look at lichens. The trip was a great opportunity to highlight the ecological characteristics of different groups of lichens. On the second day, we taught how to use a dichotomous key, and together we identified three lichen specimens at the species level. Many of the students had the opportunity to collect their own specimens on the school campus and we helped them identify them as well. We were thoroughly impressed with their abilities and pleased to learn that the workshop inspired them to pursue three research projects centered on lichens at NCSSM. We thank Dr. Erin Quinlan at NCSSM for her support in organizing this workshop. We look forward to continued interaction with NCSSM students and faculty in the future. This outreach activity was funded in part by the National Science Foundation grants DEB 1541548 and 1929994 to François Lutzoni and Jolanta Miadlikowska.
Edyta will spend the spring semester in the Lutzoni Lab to learn methods in molecular systematics for her Ph.D. research on Lecanora.
Scott LaGreca and Ian Medeiros provided a two-hour introduction to the biology and biodiversity of lichens on a Saturday morning walk at ECWA’s Glennstone preserve. Twenty people from the Durham area attended the event, and based on their enthusiasm we suspect that none of them will ever again go for a hike without noticing the lichens.
Members of the Lutzoni Lab spent the day teaching kids and adults about symbiosis and lichens. Visitors to the museum got a chance to look at lichens under the microscope, see a lichen fluoresce under UV light, and watch as a desiccated lichen thallus was rehydrated. Jigsaw puzzles of Xanthoria and Peltigera entertained younger visitors and gave us visual aids for discussing lichen structure and reproduction. Special thanks to Scott LaGreca for organizing the Lutzoni Lab’s participation in this fun and educational event.
We’re excited to welcome Duke third-year Will White to the Lutzoni Lab as an undergraduate research assistant. He will be working on a variety of projects under the daily supervision of Ian Medeiros and Carlos Pardo De la Hoz.
Carlos graduated from Universidad de Los Andes (Uniandes, Bogotá, Colombia) in Microbiology. Carlos comes to Duke University with already several graduate courses under his belt, and an award for best student poster that he received at the 11th International Mycological Congress. We are delighted to have him join the Lutzoni Lab.
This collaborative work was done as part of the NSF GoLife project on endophytic and endolichenic fungi (mycophygolife.org).
The Lutzoni Lab hosted a lichen field trip for the “Wild Ones,” an undergraduate natural history club at Duke. Selected photos from the trip can be viewed here. We all had a great time sharing our enthusiasm for lichens with the group!