AFTOL: Resolving the Evolutionary History of the Fungi
With an estimated 1.5 million species, fungi represent one of the largest branches of the tree of life. Fungi are of profound ecological and economic importance, owing to their diverse activities as decomposers, pathogens, and mutualistic symbionts. Recently, there has been an exponential growth in multigene fungal phylogenies, with the result being a more robust phylogeny of the kingdom. Much of this growth was facilitated by the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life project (AFTOL). Major challenges, however, remain in fungal systematics, including resolution of problematical deep nodes and establishment of fine-grained phylogenetic understanding at the tips of the tree.
AFTOL: Resolving the Evolutionary History of the Fungi, the successor to the first AFTOL project, has contributed to understanding fungal phylogeny at multiple levels. This study was designed around explicit hypotheses that have been tested through analyses of large phylogenomic datasets and selected subcellular characters. Project researchers at the University of Minnesota are coordinating analysis of subcellular and biochemical characters as well as studying molecular phylogenetics of selected species. Supercomputing resources are being used for database development and phylogenetic analyses of molecular and subcellular data. During 2016, the researchers are using supercomputing resources for database development and support.
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