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Andrew Wilson, Ph.D.

Adjunct Assistant Conservation Scientist
(847) 835-8354
Curriculum Vitae: 
Teaching and Research Affiliations: 
  • Research Associate – The Field Museum, Chicago, 2009–Current.
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant – Purdue University, January – December 2013.
  • Adjunct Faculty – School of the Art Institute Chicago. Fall 2012 - current.
  • Adjunct Faculty – Wilbur Wright City College, Chicago. Fall 2012 - current.
  • Adjunct Faculty – Northwestern University. Fall 2012.
  • Adjunct Faculty – Loyola University Chicago, 2010.
Research Interests: 
  • Evolution and ecology of the model ectomycorrhizal mushroom genus Laccaria.
  • The effect of climate and host association on the biodiversity of Laccaria in Australia and New Zealand.
  • The evolution of host-pathogen associations among the rust-forming fungi, Pucciniales.
  • Systematic relationships and biogeography of the enigmatic puffball genus Calostoma.
  • Systematic diversity, evolution, and ecology of litter decomposing fungi in the Omphalataceae and Marasmiaceae.

Upon considering that less than 2% of all fungi have been described, it should be clear that biologists have an insufficient understanding of their biology and ecological contributions. It is necessary to address gaps in our knowledge of fungal biodiversity in order to effectively engage in issues of conservation and recognize new and important questions in fungal biodiversity. The value of describing such diversity is emphasized in the fact that fungi represent multi-cellular eukaryotic organisms that interact with the environment on the molecular level. Unlike prokaryotes, fungi have a larger genetic ‘toolbox’ with which to interact with the microbial universe. No other group of organisms has the capacity to manipulate molecules with as much originality and diversity as fungi. As a result, fungi play a significant role in our understanding of symbiotic interactions, nutrient cycling, and the overall conservation of plant communities and ecosystems.

My research explores questions of fungi biodiversity on multiple scales. I use my training in classical taxonomy to describe new species of fungi and refine or understanding of fungal taxonomic diversity. This research is complemented by expertise in molecular systematics and phylogenetics. The ever-expanding growth in phylogenetic analysis has provided tools that allow me to test hypotheses in the evolution and ecology of fungi. I am currently expanding my research into population genetics, which will allow me to explore questions in fungal biodiversity at the microevolutionary scale. My future plans are to expand my research further into genomics where I can investigate the evolution of ecological diversity in fungi, and how species and lineages of fungi evolve new ecological roles.

Selected Publications: 

Wilson A. W., Wickett N., Grabowski P., Fant J., Borevitz J., Mueller G. M. 2015. Examining the efficacy of a genotyping-by-sequencing technique for population genetic analysis of the mushroom Laccaria bicolor and evaluating whether a reference genome is necessary to assess homology. Mycologia 107(1): 9 pages.

Phosri C., Watling R., Suwannasai N., Wilson A. W., Martín M. P. 2014. A new representative of star-shaped fungi: Astraeus sirindhornii sp. nov. from Thailand. PloS ONE 9(6):e71160.

Wilson A. W., Hosaka K., Perry B. A., and Mueller G. M. 2013 Laccaria (Agaricomycetes, Basidiomycota) from Tibet (Xizang Autonomous Region, China). Mycoscience 54(6):406-419.

Wilson A. W.,Binder M. and Hibbett D. S. 2012. Diversity and evolution of ectomycorrhizal host associations in the Sclerodermatineae (Boletales, Basidiomycota). New Phytologist 194(4): 1079-1095.

Wilson A. W., Binder M. and Hibbett D. S. 2011. Effects of gasteroid fruiting body morphology on diversification rates in three independent clades of fungi estimated using binary state speciation and extinction analysis. Evolution 65(5): 1305-1322.

Wilson A. W., Hobbie E. A. and Hibbett D. S.  2007. The ectomycorrhizal status of Calostoma cinnabarinum determined using isotopic, molecular and morphological methods. Canadian Journal of Botany 85: 385-393.

Wilson A. W. and Desjardin D. E. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships in the gymnopoid and marasmioid fungi (Basidiomycota, euagarics clade).  Mycologia 97:667-679.