- Diversity and evolutionary ecology of Agaricomycetes including, but not limited to:
- Evolution and ecology of the model ectomycorrhizal mushroom genus Laccaria.
- Systematic relationships and biogeography of the enigmatic puffball genus Calostoma.
- Systematic diversity, evolution, and ecology of litter decomposing fungi in the Omphalataceae and Marasmiaceae.
- The evolution of host-pathogen associations among the rust-forming fungi, Pucciniales.
I am currently the Assistant Curator of Fungi at the Denver Botanic Gardens. However the above contact information has been updated to reflect this so you may use it to contact me as long as this profile is still available.
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 diversity in order to effectively engage in issues of conservation and recognize new and important questions in fungal biology. 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 our understanding of fungal taxonomic diversity. This research complements my expertise in molecular systematics and phylogenetics. The ever-expanding growth in phylogenetic analysis allow me to test hypotheses regarding the evolution and ecology of fungi. I am currently expanding my research into population genetics, in order to study the selective forces that shape fungal biodiversity and evolution.
Koch, R. A., Wilson A. W., Séné O., Henkel T. O., Aime M. C. Biogeography of Guyanagaster necrorhizus (Physalacriaceae, Agaricales, Basidiomycota)—the first known gasteroid fungus to have evolved from a pathogenic ancestor. BMC Evolutionary Biology (Accepted 9th January 2017).
Wilson A. W., Hosaka K., Mueller G. M. 2016. Evolution of ectomycorrhizae as a driver of diversification and biogeographic patterns in the model mycorrhizal mushroom genus Laccaria. New Phytologist.
Desai N., Wilson A. W., Powers J., Mueller G. M., Egerton-Warburton L. 2016. Ectomycorrhizal diversity and community structure in stands of Quercus oleoides in the seasonally dry tropical forests of Costa Rica. Ecological Research Letters 11(12) 125007.
Leacock P. R., Riddell J., Wilson A. W., Zhang R., Ning C., Mueller G. M. 2016. Cantharellus chicagoensis sp. nov. is confirmed by molecular and morphological analysis as a new yellow chanterelle in the American Midwest. Mycologia 108(4): 765-772.
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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04109.x
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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01214.x
Wilson A. W. and Desjardin D. E. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships in the gymnopoid and marasmioid fungi (Basidiomycota, euagarics clade). Mycologia 97:667-679. http://dx.doi.org/10.3852/mycologia