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Fernando Fernandez Mendoza

Fernando Fernández Mendoza

Ph.D. student

B1.6: GENETIC DIVERSITY AND GENE FLOW AMONG ANTARCTIC AND ARCTIC LICHEN POPULATIONS ALONG THE ANDES AND ROCKY MOUNTAINS

My scientific interests spread on lichens and the role they play in the evolution of Biosphere. Lichens are “interaction” organisms in which fungi, green algae and cyanobacteria are associated forming a semi-open ecological and evolutive system. Lichens live and evolve at spatial and temporal scales that differ significantly to those of humans, animals or vascular plants; making their geographical and evolutionary patterns difficult to interpret from an anthropocentric perspective.
My current dedication is aimed at understanding the underlying processes that shape the distributional ranges of lichens, especially those that span over several continents and climatic zones and grow in both polar regions. I combine field studies and molecular methods to study the population structure and reconstruct the phylogeographic history behind distribution patterns. I focus my research in two species, Cetraria aculeata and Rhizoplaca melanophthalma. Both species share a wide distributional pattern but have contrasting life history traits, and differ significantly in the width of their trophic niche, on the extent to which the form historically open or close systems with the photobionts.
With our research we pretend not only to give an insight to basic questions in lichen biology, but also to help us prospect the future of these species in a changing world.

Contact:
Phone: 069 970751151
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