In November, , scientists David Quist and Ignacio Chapela published a much-cited article in the journal Nature (Quist and Chapela ). Investigating the. Ignacio Chapela (born ) is a microbial ecologist and mycologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for a paper in Nature on the. letters to nature. NATURE |VOL |29 NOVEMBER | David Quist & Ignacio H. Chapela. Department of Environmental Science, .

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Visibility is such a great obsession with us, humans! But the world knows little about that. And what does it really help with, for all its beautiful and mysterious construction? For organisms like us, who move in the curiously-ordered universe of meter-scale, specific shapes mean much, often the difference between life and death think of our acuteness in detecting minor shape changes in someone’s face ; but for most of life, who operate at time- and space-scales very different to ours?

Do they care about the visibility of things? The Laboratory of Microbial Ecology is focused on a relatively small segment of the very large and disparate group of invisible life forms we call “microbes”.

We work with eukaryotic microbes, and we are most focused on those eukaryotic microbes living in terrestrial ecosystems. That would mean the unwieldy and multifarious collection of life forms we call fungi. In those terrestrial ecosystems we ask simple questions: How many of them?

Ignacio Chapela

These are the basic questions of ecology: For traditional ecologists, there was no question about the identity of the organism at stake: Not so for microbes, where a given organism can take multiple shapes for example filamentous fungi turning into yeasts and viceversa; spores of various kinds can lead to multiple variations on the hyphal theme, and so onand indistinguishable cellular structures can belie quite different phylogenetic and ecological characters.

Our current attempt to deal with this problem is to develop methods and instrumentation to allow real mapping, at geographical scales, of microbial organisms, with DNA-sequence specificity.

Learn more in our Lab Website. Mycologia, 96 4, pp. With this manuscript we establish several new concepts in the field of coevolutionary biology of fungi. Second, we show that biogeographical patterning and the evolutionary history of the host play a much more important role in these ectomycorhizal fungi than had previously been assumed from extrapolations of other fungi.

Third, using a novel analytical approach to genetic and biogeographical inference, we resolve for the first time the most probable migratory route behind the well-known vicariance pattern observed between the Eastern United States and S-E Asia. Fourth, we provide solid biological data and concepts to inform what has been traditionally a fickle and speculative market which is, nonetheless, very important across the Northern Hemisphere.


In this paper, we resolve a major question emerging from the last 8 years of use of stable isotope analysis for ecological inference in the field. First, on the basis of a study with unprecedented precision in sampling and analysis, we show that a consistent difference between ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungi in terms of stable isotope ratios is due more to substrate than to intrinsic processing.

Secondly, we use a meta-analysis approach, using published data from across the Northern Hemisphere, to show that physiological differentiation chapwla exist in all forest basidiomycetes, so that specific physio-ecological groups can be observed. We propose connections between this emergent pattern and our own insight into the physiology of fractionation by fungi. This highly reductionistic work is nonetheless very important for a wide variety of other fields, since the determination of the natural distribution of ginacio isotopes in the environment has become a tool of choice for studies ranging from nutrient processing to global change.

My participation in paper included design of experiments, identification of physiological interpretations and writing.

Phylogenetics of Lophodermium from pine. Growth-dependent stable carbon isotope fractionation by basidiomycete fungi: Midcourse evaluation of the Novartis Berkeley agreement. California Monthly February issue. A paper which, despite simple statements, has acquired much notoriety even before its publication.

In this article, we provide molecular evidence of the presence of transgenic DNA in genomes and geographical regions where it was not supposed to occur. This discovery, which challenges many accepted assumptions about the ecology of transgenic organisms, is the first publication where my interests in both the science as well as the policy of microbial ecology become crystalized.

Who we are

We applied simple methods typical of microbial ecology to a critical question of policy relevance. The consequence has been an exceptional public attention and media coverage for the story. My role in this paper nahure to conceive of the project, implement the necessary field capacity over the last 15 yearsand write. Laboratory work was mostly performed by graduate student David Quist.

Ectomycorrhizal fungi introduced with exotic plantations induce soil carbon depletion. Soil Biology and Biochemistry The methods used a combination of traditional soil analysis, stable- and radioactive isotope analysis and DNA-based microbial community characterizationand indeed the concepts behind this manuscript are novel and of very large significance, since plantations of this type are now being planted chape,a extremely large areas globally.


Because of igjacio novelty, and because of its potential impact on the economy of plantations, this paper has received a very deep level of scrutiny and challenge. Indeed, my desire to gain closer precision on techniques used in this paper spawned a chapwla line of research in the microbial processing of stable C isotopes in my laboratory and elsewhere in the world.

After much debate and eight rounds of review, the manuscript was accepted.

Who we are | Chapela Lab at UC Berkeley

Ecology and evolution in Hypoxylon sensu lato: The most recent culmination of my work on an important group of angiosperm-associated fungi, with which I have been working since my doctoral dissertation. Natue this paper, we take a biogeographical and evolutionary approach to questions of coevolution, host-specificity and adaptation.

Principles emerging from this study include the lack of lineage-tracking in this important group, and its directed evolution and adaptive radiation towards drying ifnacio. We also provide a solid grounding for a revaluation of nomenclature within this important group, which has remained elusive for analyses based only on morphological and histochemical methods.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 66 The first in a series of four or five articles establishing the fundamentals of isotopic fractionation by fungi. Naturd participation in this manuscript included the design of experiments, identification of C3- C4- differential fractionation, production of the explanatory model proposed here and writing.

Global bodies won’t save the environment: A response to a proposed initiative for global conservation. This response draws from my work and experience with Latin American conservation reality on the ground. Biodiversity – cornucopia natjre knowledge.

Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity. This short note marks the published beginning of a project Cnapela have been developing since as a comparative approach to valuation of biological resources.

Ignacio CHAPELA | Our Environment at Berkeley

This is an original concept derived from my experience in the field of drug discovery, together with my understanding of microbial ecology and the needs of conservation practice. Few Californians are aware of the path that water takes to reach their taps. Many rely on water whose journey begin… https: Graduate student Joan Dudney discusses surveying whitebark pine in the Sierras, and if the species will soon be lis… https: Listen here – https: Office hours By Appointment.

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