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- Our NSF-funded Philippines project is back for Expedition 4, this time visiting the Mt. Balatukan from Gingoog City, Barangay Kalagonoy, which is part of the Mount Balatukan Range Natural Park. Time flew by and in no time we will return there again (JULY!!).
- We finally went back to the Philippines for Expedition 3 after a 2-year full pause due to the pandemic. It was incredible to revisit with friends and colleagues there, while also making new ones!
- Visited and collected in Mexico with a fantastic group of colleagues and students (J.A. Bautista-González, M. Sanches, M. Cardona Cruz, B. Hernández-Hernández, I. Piña) in collaboration with my friends from UNAM Dr. Marcelo Pace, Dr. Marusa Herrera Campos and Dr. Ivalu Cacho. I can't wait to go back!
DURING THE PANDEMIC...
- Stay SAFE!!! Wear a mask, shelter in place and practice social distancing (among other CDC guidelines).
- Reach out for help! It is OK not to be OK!!!
- Special THANKS to all people working day and night to help fight this pandemic.
- If possible, participate of online talks and educational programs, engage positively in social media, talk to your friends and family, meditate, and spend time doing what you like :-)
- I attended the "Programming for Evolutionary Biology Workshop" in Berlin. For those interested in learning more bioinformatics, this is a great option: http://evop.bioinf.uni-leipzig.de/
- I visited friend and colleague Dr. Robert Lücking in Berlin (BGBM) and we worked together on multiple Cora and Dictyonema projects. With his generous help, I was able to study several paleotropical specimens, as well as the critically endangered Cora from Florida. Our paper about this endemic US taxon will be out soon.
- Upon my return from my prolonged stay in Germany, I offered a live webinar with the Smithsonian Science How called "What's a Lichen? With Lichenologist Manuela Dal Forno". It is approximately 1h of lichen fun – Watch it here!
- I was invited to give a talk at the IV Congreso Nacional de Liquenología del Perú & I Congreso Nacional de Lomas on September 18 2020. There is a great line up of talks, check their website here!
- I am adapting well to Texas :-) Fort Worth is a lovely (and cool) place and the Research Team here, which now I am part of, is awesome and so supportive. Thanks y'all!!
- I visited the Washington, DC area twice to finish my postdoc lab work... This included endless hours at LAB preparing microbiome and metagenomics libraries and extracting high-molecular weight DNA for my first PacBio run. I am soooo excited with this new data!
- Well, I also spent Valentine's Day delivering a talk to the Smithsonian Associates on "Nature Lovers", AKA, Symbioses. Of course, I talked about LICHENS!! How cute is that?
- I have officially started a position as a Research Botanist at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas - I am thrilled to be here and continue my research program on lichen evolution and diversity.
- One of my new projects at BRIT is studying lichens from the Philippines. I already had the opportunity to spend a full month there in December and it was simply amazing. This is an NSF funded project and you can check the abstract here. For more information on this, check out my Trips tab and chose Philippines!
- Congrats to PhD candidate Julia Adams for passing her comprehensive exams at UCR!
- I had a SUPER COOL Lichen LIVE Webcast at the NMNH, check out the AM and PM recordings. This time we were staged at the Q?rius Exhibit and schools came to watch the show live and interact with us after the program.
- Good news! More invited talks are in my future at Duke University and the University of Cincinnati... and a few more educational programs too: Smithsonian Associates, North Texas Master Naturalist Chapter and another Science How program on NOV 14th! Don't miss it :-) I will post the website when it becomes available.
- I attended for the first time a "solo" meeting of the Mycological Society of America in Minneapolis, MN. Fun fact: that is where I moved 10 years ago directly from Brazil! It was absolutely amazing to be back there. I gave a talk entitled: "Lichen Microbiomes: How Much Do We Know And What’s Next?". Interested in the topic? Email-me!
- On September 3rd was my LICHEN ANNIVERSARY! 17 years of pure love and symbioses. Tweet here. One day later I was featured in the 365 Early-career Trans, Enby, and Women Botanists Twitter page. Tweet here.
- During this Summer, I advised Ph.D. student Julia Adams from UC Riverside during her fellowship at the NMNH. Her project is focused on the systematics of the charismatic lichen Acarospora socialis.
- This months my two Smithsonian YES! interns started working on their project "Lichen Diversity in the Tropics". We focused on sequencing bacterial and fungal cultures from different lichens. We also generated a few guides for future comparisons. Hope to have this available to others soon!
- I was invited to be a guest speaker at the Teen Science Cafe, and initiative by local female high-school students taking a new lead to engage the public in STEM. My talk was about... LICHENS, of course! Very proud of these students for making a difference in our field. Congratulations!
- I also gave talks at Hogwarts Summer Camp and the Patuxent Research Refuge where I have been a volunteer for over a year now in a lichen project.
- I participated of an awesome program at the National Museum of Natural History called Science How? with hosts Maggy Benson and Emmanuel Kyeibaffour. It is available at the museum website as a teaching resource. It's a 42-min broadcast and a great opportunity to learn more about lichens. Check it out:
- Together with my colleague Cécile Gueidan, I am organizing a symposium on "New approaches to harness genetic data from herbarium specimens" during the 9th International Association for Lichenology meeting in Brazil (2020).
- I gave a Lichens 101 talk to the Mycological Association of Washington and over the weekend we went to Great Falls to learn more about lichen in situ! Such a welcoming group!
- The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) inaugurated a brand new molecular and structural lab! A news article can be found here. This is a huge accomplishment for BRIT and my sincere congratulations for all those who worked towards this endeavor.
- The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) has a brand new and awesome website, and so has the Botany Department!
- I am starting my new post-doc at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History as a Peter Buck Fellow in the Botany Department. Thank you all those who have helped me to get here! My research will focus on investigating the origins of lichenization in Basidiomycota. I am so proud to belong to this community and ready for this new challenge!
- I have also started a new position at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) as a Resident Research Associate. Check my profile here. This Institution has an incredible story and commitment to the environment! It is a center where you can learn about plants, conservation, herbarium, collections management, etc. I am very happy to be part of this awesome team!
- I am so thrilled to be working this Summer with two great interns through the Smithsonian YES! Program with a project investigating lichen diversity in Brazil.
- I am back in Graz, Austria to wrap up my NSF project with Dr. Grube in the University of Graz / Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Graz is truly a magical place and the group here very welcoming and helpful. Thanks guys!
- Together with my colleagues Joel Mercado-Díaz (PhD Candidate at The University of Chicago) and Mr. Keron Campbell (Botanist at the Natural History Museum of Jamaica, Institute of Jamaica) we collected lichens in the Blue Mountains National Park. It was amazing and a long waited trip to collect the type of the true Cora pavonia!!!!
- BIG NEWS: I have officially accepted a Peter Buck Fellowship in the Botany Department at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian). Starting in August I will be working on sequencing the genomes of basidiolichens of the Dictyonema clade.
- I attended the Lichen Genomics Workshop in Graz, Austria (UniGraz), where the most recent research on the topic was presented. Did you know there are currently over 50 species of lichenized fungi with their genomes being sequenced?
- I also went to a 11-day expedition in the Serra da Mantiqueira (Mantiqueira Mountains), Brazil to collect lichens. The Expedition Mantiqueira 2017 Usnea-Cora was a success, with over a thousand lichens collected! Besides me, the team was composed of Dr. Philippe Clerc (Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Genève), Dr. Alice Gerlach (UFRGS), and Rodrigo Penati (São Paulo, collaborator of DetWeb, https://www.facebook.com/groups/171157419593991/). Many novelties will come out of this! I hope to post some images soon!
- I went to Austria to visit the University of Graz (UniGraz) for two months to work on microbiome analyses in the lab of Dr. Martin Grube. I also learned how to perform FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) on basidiolichens, which has never been reported in the literature. Results will be published soon, also in collaboration with the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz).
- I spent most of my days in the lab preparing microbiome and genome libraries to take with me to Austria. I also developed a set of primers to be used in Hygrocybe.
- April was quite a busy month, I offered two talks followed by nature hikes (Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian, MD and for the Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society in Wicomico Church, VA). Both were full of fellow lichen lovers and lichens to love.
- I also featured at the April meeting of the Botanical Society of Washington, The Expert is In Series: Liking Lichens in the Q?rius exhibit and the Senate of Scientists Lighting Talks, all at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
- Our newest paper on GALAPAGOS BASIDIOLICHENS is OUT and can be found here:
- On March 4th I was a speaker at the Virginia Native Plant Society 2017 Workshop. We had a day with fantastic talks and a very good opportunity to meet new people that also care for our native plants here in Virginia. Thank you VNPS for the invitation and I look forward to the next workshops.
- On February 6th I had the pleasure of talking about lichens with +-25 local naturalists while leading a hike at the Riverbend Park, Great Falls, VA. Thank you National Association for Interpretation - Region 2, Chasepeake, Beltway Chapter folks for the opportunity.
- Dr. Morgan Gostel and I offered a workshop at the Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul (RS, Brazil) for students and professors interested in including genetic resources in their projects. More than 30 people attended.
What a busy month:
- I went to the VIII CBM (Congresso Brasileiro de Micologia) and gave a talk in the lichen symposium organized by Dr. Marcela Cáceres from the Universidade Federal de Sergipe.
- Our research group has a new paper out: Lücking et al. (2016). This is a major effort with many collaborators we have around the world to describe 70 new species in the genus Cora. It was a lot of work to assemble all data, but the result paid off!
- I went to my first field trip of my NSF post-doc: Parque Nacional do Itatiaia, Brazil. It was amazing. Sunny days and perfect temperature.... and most importantly: FULL OF LICHENS! Check out some pictures here (coming soon).
- I also published an article in The Plant Press about lichens, their microbiome and how people suffer from lichen blindness. If you want to be cured from it, consider reading it! It is about 1000 words and I hope you find it informative!
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