Keynote speakers

Dr. Ward Wheeler (American Museum of Natural History) is the Curator of the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, AMNH. His research focuses on systematic theory and its application to the historical relationships among and within a number of metazoan lineages. He has developed theory and algorithms to interpret evolutionary patterns from multiple sources of phylogenetic information including anatomy, behavior, and a diversity of genomic information. Lately his research has expanded to integrate linguistic, ethnographic and genetic information of human populations. Dr. Wheeler´s funding has been equally diversified with grants received from DARPA, NASA and NSF, among others. His laboratory at the AMNH reconstructs evolutionary trees to determine how metazoan taxa and their anatomy and genomes have evolved over the past 500 million years. Dr. Wheeler has built a series of high performance cluster computers to analyze these data, some of the fastest in the world for phylogenetic research. He, along with a team of researchers and graduate students, seeded the high-performance computing facility beginning with a commodity cluster some 20 years ago, built and used to analyze phylogenetic relationships among and within species of invertebrates. This technology is put to use in the American Museum’s quest to link extinct lineages with the genomes, morphology, and behavior of species that survive today. Dr. Wheeler serves as Curator-in-Charge of the AMNH Science Computing Facility and professor of the Richard Guilder Graduate School. Dr. Wheeler joined the Museum in 1989 and has authored over 150 scientific publications and books, including a general textbook of systematics. He has also authored software packages (e.g. POY), and has been awarded a US patent in DNA sequence analysis.

Prof. Markku Kulmala (University of Helsinki) is the Director of the Division of Atmospheric Sciences at the Department of Physics. He leads the Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science consisting of 280 physicists, meteorologists, chemists, forest scientists and biologists. Kulmala has also headed two Nordic Centres of Excellence as well as the NordForsk Graduate school. He has coordinated the European Integrated project on Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interactions, and has participated in 36 other EU projects, most of them as a PI. His current research unit consists of 150 scientists, and he also leads a research group in Aerosol and Environmental Physics totalling 60 persons. Kulmala is a leading international expert in atmospheric aerosol science and one of the founders of ‘terrestrial ecosystem meteorology’. His work covers theoretical and experimental physics, atmospheric chemistry, observational meteorology, biophysics and biosphere-aerosol-cloud-climate interactions. His main scientific goal has been to decrease scientific uncertainty about global climate change issues, particularly those related to aerosols and clouds. Kulmala has created a comprehensive research programme including continuous long-term atmospheric observation, global modelling, as well as deep theoretical and experimental investigation of atmospheric cluster and aerosol dynamics. He has published over 700 studies in geosciences, chemistry, physics and environmental studies, and has been the world´s most referred geoscientist since 2011. He has also won several prizes and awards such as the Finnish Science Prize in 2003, International Aerosol Fellow Award of the International Aerosol Research Assembly in 2004, and Fuchs Award in 2010.

Prof. Bruce McCune (Oregon State University) is a professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University, USA, where he teaches courses in the lichenology, bryology and the analysis of ecological community data. His research interests include temperate forest epiphytes, biological soil crusts, methods for the multivariate analysis of community data, lichen ecology and the taxonomy of lichens. His research group’s work on lichen ecology includes management applications. For example, the group has studied the long-term consequences of green-tree retention, how different species and functional groups of lichens are distributed in young, seemingly monotonous forests, and whether the structure of young forests can be changed to enhance the re-entry and development of old-growth-associated epiphytes. His research on analytical tools concerns how species abundance as a response variable differs from the ideal variables, how this creates problems, and how to deal effectively with them. His current research in this area focuses on species response surfaces in multidimensional predictor spaces, using methods that are open to any functional form, nonlinearities in response and interactions among predictors. He has authored or co-authored 175 peer-reviewed publications and seven books. He is the lead author for the software packages PC-ORD and HyperNiche.

Dr. Silke Werth (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz) has been an assistant professor (Universitätsassistentin) at the University of Graz since 2014. She has a diploma from the University of Tromsø (Norway) in lichen community ecology, and a PhD from the University of Berne (Switzerland). Her thesis on the dispersal biology and population genetics of the tree lungwort, Lobaria pulmonaria was awarded in 2005. As a post doc at the University of California, Los Angeles, she worked on the phylogeography of the lace lichen, Ramalina menziesii in coastal western North America between 2005 and 2008. She then studied the phylogeography of Lobaria sp. and its lichenicolous fungus Tremella lobariacearum in Macaronesia, and the population genetics of the endangered riparian shrub Myricaria germanica in Central Europe at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL (Switzerland).  Werth was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship and two project grants by the Icelandic Research Fund to study the population genomics of the common terricolous lichen Peltigera membranacea at the University of Iceland. Her current research integrates traditional lichen ecology with population genetics and genomic approaches using Peltigera membranacea and Lobaria pulmonaria as study systems. She has published on population genetics and the phylogeography of lichens, including review papers on lichen population genetics and lichen biogeography. She recently coauthored a book chapter on how high-throughput sequencing can be used to study the population biology of lichens.

Dr. Toby Spribille (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz)
Aino Henssen Awardee, IAL8
Please, find the abstract of his keynote lecture HERE.