Dr. Christian Printzen
B1.6/D1.5: GENETIC DIVERSITY AND GENE FLOW AMONG ANTARCTIC AND ARCTIC LICHEN POPULATIONS ALONG THE ANDES AND ROCKY MOUNTAINS
D1.10: DIFFERENTIAL SELECTION OF PHOTOBIONTS AND ECOPHYSIOLOGICAL ACCLIMATION BY THE BIPOLAR LICHEN CETRARIA ACULEATA
My scientific interests are focussed on the evolution, biogeography and dispersal of lichens, symbiotic associations between fungi and green algae or cyanobycteria. The distributional ranges of most lichens are large in comparison to those of e.g. vascular plants and often span several continents and climatic zones. We combine field studies with molecular methods in order to infer the population structure of lichens and reconstruct the phylogeographic history behind distribution patterns. One of our main objects is the lichen Cetraria aculeata that occurs in polar as well as temperate regions. At present we use ecophysiological methods and common garden experiments to investigate, whether genetic differences in the photobionts of C. aculeata are associated with physiological differences and adaptation to climatic factors. We also attempt to explain the bipolar distribution of this species and answer the question whether there is gene flow between populations in both hemispheres. Both projects will help us to predict the future of this species in a changing world.