Ep. 87: Cryptic Fungi, Laboulbeniales & Pushing the Boundaries of Fungal Exploration (feat. Danny Haelewaters PhD)

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Today on Mushroom Hour we are joined by adventurer and mycologist Danny Haelewaters PhD. Danny Haelewaters holds a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Sciences, a Master of Science in biology, and a PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. During his Masters program he developed a new technology to analyze forensic relevant fungi in casework at the Netherlands Forensic Institute. Between 2012 and 2018, he worked at the Farlow Herbarium of the Harvard University Herbaria (Cambridge, MA) as a PhD student. In 2018, he did a short postdoc at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, and from November 2018 until late 2020 he was a USDA-funded postdoctoral research assistant at Purdue University, where he worked on characterizing the fungal microbiota of Romaine lettuce. Currently he works at Ghent University as a junior postdoctoral fellow on a project dealing with Laboulbeniales associated with bat flies. In addition, he writes popular science articles for different sources. Since the very beginning of his student career at Ghent University (Belgium), he has has loved the interdisciplinary research in biology. It probably contributed to his choice to study the ecto-parasitic Laboulbeniales fungus. I’m excited to learn more about these unique organisms as well as the secrets of other little-known parasitic fungi.
TOPICS COVERED:

  • From Vet to Mycologist
  • Fungal Inspiration at the University of Ghent
  • Discovering Laboulbeniales
  • Uncovering Phylogeny of Rare, Microscopic Fungi
  • Bat Fly Research in Panama
  • Tripartite System of Bats, Bat Flies and Fungi
  • Future of Laboulbeniales Research on Bat Flies
  • Other Entomopathogens Including Herpomyces
  • Physiology of Laboubieniales
  • Invasive Species & "Enemy Release” Hypothesis
  • Importance of Conserving Fungal Pathogens
  • Exploring Laboubeniales as a BioControl Agent
  • Discovering new Clades of Cryptic Fungal Organisms
  • Understudied Habitats (Romaine Lettuce & Dead Bodies?!)

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