Evolution and diversification in Ramalina

Funded by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness we started a project on January 2017 on the diversification of the fenus Ramalina in Macaronesia. Since several years ago my colleague Israel Pérez-Vargas and me started to investigate the taxonomy of this puzzling group in the Canary Islands and Madeira. The group has incredibly radiated in the area with more than 30 endemics. In order to put these species in a broader context we are assembling a phylogeny of the whole genus with the help of many colleagues. More information about this project HERE!

Systematics and taxonomy of Collemopsidiales

We recently erected the order Collemopsidiales to accomodate species of Collemopsidium and Zwackhiomyces (vely likely Didymellopsis and Frigidopyrenia also belong to the order). Since then we have made large advances in the taxonomy of the group, especially dealing with marine species. Many new species are coming! In collaboration with Allison Knight (New Zealand), Dan Balnchon (New Zealand), Ulf Schiefelbein (Germany), Alain Girault (France),...

Systematics and taxonomy of marine Verrucariaceae

I have been always fascinated by seashores. For a inland guy these ecosystems are impressive and, at the same time, weird. During my first expedition to Tierra del Fuego (Chile) I got impressed by the high diversity of this group in the Southern Hemisphere. Since then, my interest has only grown. I am interested not only in the taxonomy of the group (genera Wahlenbergiella, Hydropunctaria and Mastodia) but its phylogeography in both hemispheres. In collaboration with Holger Thüs (London), Cécile Gueidan (Canberra), Starri Heiðmarsson (Akureyri) and Alan Orange (Cardiff).

Epiphytic lichen communities in urban environments

Since 2017 I am studying how epiphytic lichen communities have changed in urban areas of Madrid city. Previous inventories (Crespo et al. 1977) showed a very different picture to what we can observe nowadays in our city.

Further, together with the colleagues of GBIF (Madrid), CREAF (Barcelona) and U. of Barcelona we are working in an exciting project of citizen science. Scholars in Madrid and Barcelona will become scientists for a day and will check the diversity of epiphytic lichens in the surrounding of their highschools. All together we will build precise air quality maps of our cities. This project is funded by FECYT.

Systematics and taxonomy of lichenicolous fungi

Lichenicolous fungi are a diverse and heterogeneous group of fungi living on lichen thalli. Life-styles encompass from hard parasites to saprotrophs or parasymbionts. During the last decades it has been shown that this group of fungi still keep many suprises, both in terms of diversity and of amazing phylogenetic relatioships with other group of fungi with completely different life-styles. I have studied the diversity, taxonomy and systematics of lichenicolous fungi during the last 10 years in collaboration with many colleagues (Ave Suija-Estonia, Javier Etayo-Spain, Toby Spribille-Austria, Gokhan Halici-Turkey, Vicent Calatayud-Spain,...). I am particularly interested in the taxonomy of the genus Abrothallus and the lichenicolous species from the family Xanthopyreniaceae.

Microbial succession in glacier forefields

We are interested in how microbial communities (fungi and bacteria) change in time when ice retreat exposes new surfaces. Through next generation sequencing (454, Illumina), we investigate changes along chronosequences in recently deglaciated areas from Tierra del Fuego (Chile), Antarctica and Iceland. 

Myco-photobiont relatioships 

Lichens are composed by at least two members, the fungus and a green alga or a cyanobacteria. This is the most simple history you can tell about lichens. However, as always happen in nature, things are much more complicated. Other guests (fungi, bacteria) live within the lichen thallus and relationships between fungi and algae is usually not as simple as a one to one relationship. In the last years, it has been shown that even our naive idea that a single algal strain living in each thallus is wrong. Complexity scalates if one moves toward an ecosystem scale. That point is where my focus is. How relationships among fungi and algae are shaped at the ecosystem scale. 


Bioweathering in monuments

 Monumental stone suffers alterations along the time. It is exposed to several abiotic and biotic factors. I started this more applicated research line when I joined the group of Geomicrobioly and Microbial Ecology  in the MNCN (CSIC) in 2009. I have learnt a lot about how microbes and lichens collaborate in the process of degrading monumental stones and the different methods to avoid alteration of the substrate (biocides, laser, ...) together with A. de los Ríos, C. Ascaso and J. Wierzchos. In-situ studies include the gothic cloister of Segovia Cathedral and the Inca city of Machu Picchu.