Damien Ertz

Department: Research
Specialty: Lichensdiscovering biodiversityunderstanding evolution
Research theme: taxonomy of lichens, phylogenetics and co-evolution in lichens

Contact: damien.ertz@jardinbotaniquemeise.be
Phone: +32 2 896.61.44

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Damien Ertz

My main research is to contribute to the taxonomy of the Arthoniales, the third largest order of predominantly lichenized fungi, including c. 110 genera and c. 2000 species. The Arthoniales are a major component of the lichen flora of many forest types, especially in the tropics where many corticolous and foliicolous species occur. It is also well represented in saxicolous habitats, especially in subtropical coastal habitats with a Mediterranean or desert type climate. Research in the Garden focus on a taxonomic revision of the genus Opegrapha and on a broad and exhaustive molecular phylogenetic study of the order.

I am also interested in the phylogeny of lichenicolous fungi from various taxonomic groups. The lichenicolous habit represents a major evolutionary theme and arose in several lineages within the Fungi. We focus on these lichen-inhabiting fungi as they represent a key factor to our understanding of the evolution of the fungi. The discovery of many new taxa is expected in these still poorly studied groups.

Other floristic, taxonomic and phylogenetics studies focus on Macaronesia, tropical Africa, Madagascar and islands of the southwestern Indian Ocean (Mayotte, Madagascar and the Mascarene archipelago).

Research has also been developed to study the lichen flora of the French subantarctic islands (TAAF) in collaboration with the University of Rennes.

Several floristic studies are performed to improve the lichen checklist of Belgium and Luxembourg, the floristic database and the atlas of distribution maps (http://www.lichenology.info).

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