David J.


Emeritus faculty
Plant and Microbial Biology
Research interests

Our research focuses on the analysis of evolution and biodiversity in fungi, especially basidiomycetes.  A major focus in the last ten years has been the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life project, in which we deal with critical taxa in the deep roots of the Fungi. Other recent and current projects deal with evolution in relatives of the rust fungi using structural and molecular characters, phylogeny of boletes, Psathyrellas, coral mushrooms and truffles.

In the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life project, our laboratory focuses on subcellular analysis of true fungi. Besides obtaining new data for under-analyzed groups, web-accessible databases for subcellular and biochemical characters are being developed as well as an ontology for fungal subcellular characters to promote communication between databases. The data is being integrated with sequence data for multiple genes from a large number of fungi. This is a collaborative project involving researchers in several universities and many collaborators in the mycological community with the goal of producing a well supported phylogeny of the Fungi.

Fungal biodiversity is poorly understood. A revolution in knowledge of fungal evolution and systematics is in progress, facilitated by molecular and subcellular characters. We collect and culture fungi locally and in the tropics, and subject them to cytological and molecular analyses to determine phylogenetic relationships and assess structural evolution. Major focus is currently on several mushroom groups. We are also interested in documenting mushrooms of Minnesota to provide baseline data for monitoring environmental change in this understudied part of North America, which encompasses the boundaries of several biomes.

Selected publications

McLaughlin, D.J., E.G. McLaughlin, and P.A. Lemke (eds.). 2001. The Mycota. VIIA & B. Systematics and Evolution. Springer Verlag.

Dentinger, B.T.M. and D.J. McLaughlin. 2006. Reconstructing the Clavariaceae using nuclear large subunit rDNA sequences and a new genus segregated from Clavaria. Mycologia 98: 746-762.

James T.Y., et al. 2006. Reconstructing the early evolution of the fungi using a six gene phylogeny. Nature 443: 818-822.

Celio, G.J., M. Padamsee, B.T.M. Dentinger, R. Bauer, D.J. McLaughlin. 2006. Assembling the fungal tree of life: Constructing the Structural and Biochemical Database. Mycologia 98: 850-859.

Kumar, T.K.A., G.J. Celio, P.B. Matheny, D.J. McLaughlin, D.S. Hibbett, and P. Manimohan. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships of Auriculoscypha based on ultrastructural and molecular studies. Mycol. Res. 111: 268-274.

Celio, G.J., M. Padamsee, B.T.M. Dentinger, K. Josephson, T.S. Jenkinson, E.G. McLaughlin, D.J. McLaughlin. 2007. Septal pore apparatus and nuclear division of Auriscalpium vulgare. Mycologia 99: 644-654.

Hibbett, D.S., et al. 2007. A higher-level phylogenetic classification of the Fungi. Mycol. Res. 111: 509-547.