Marta Alonso García, PhD

Cladonia stellaris (Opiz) Pouzar & Vězda is one of the most abundant lichens in eastern North America and an emblematic member of the lichen woodlands (Payette & Delwaide 2018). This lichen, along with other members of woodland lichens, provides crucial ecosystem services and sometimes food to large mammals, such as caribous.

In collaboration with Alexander Culley and Serge Payette, my research covers three main topics, (i) exploring the population genomic structure of C. stellaris in the Canadian Arctic and subarctic, (ii) describing and comparing the genetic diversity of these microbiomes over a latitudinal gradient, and (iii) testing whether the viral community associated with C. stellaris varies between natural and altered areas of the lichen woodland from northern Québec.