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Stanford Mycology

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Fungal networks sustain life on our planet

Fungi are unique organisms that connect life on this planet in ways scientists are only beginning to understand. Our lab studies the interconnectedness of nature created by fungal symbioses, and the ways in which these symbioses sustain ecosystems and maintain biodiversity.  

fungal biodiversity

Genomics opens new ways to explore fungal diversity

Mushrooms are often the only indicator of the thriving world that exists belowground. While this world has been invisible for most of human history, the development of tools for large-scale sequencing of DNA has opened up this world for exploration. We use environmental DNA to characterize the diversity and function of fungal communities at a range of scales, ranging from California landscapes, across North America, and in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and the Amazon.  

worldwide mycorrhizal map

Mapping the wood wide web

Since plants first colonized the land, over 400 million years ago, they have formed symbiotic root partnerships with fungi to improve nutrient and water uptake. These partnerships, known as mycorrhizal symbiosis, are widespread and diverse in modern forests. Our research shows that the types of mycorrhizal symbiosis formed by trees vary dramatically across the globe and that they play a key role in helping plants adapt to different climates and soil environments.