2019-11: Lutzoni Lab hosts lichen workshop for North Carolina School of Math and Science students

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.

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2018-11: Lutzoni Lab participates in NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Darwin Day outreach event

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.

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2018-07: Congratulations Carlos Pardo De la Hoz – recipient of the best student poster award at IMC11

Carlos received the Best Poster award in the Evolution section of the International Mycological Congress (IMC11). This is an extraordinary achievement because Carlos did this work as an undergraduate student in the Lutzoni lab. He was competing with graduate students for this award. The title of his poster was “Using a phylogenetic framework to assess the role of symbiotic specificity in shaping evolutionary and spatial patterns of associations in trimembered lichens.” Carlos will start his Ph.D. in August 2018 in the Lutzoni lab.