Dennis Desjardin

Dennis E. Desjardin

( He/Him/His )
Professor Emeritus
University of Tennessee, Director of the Harry D. Thiers Herbarium

Field: Ecology and Evolution

At SF State Since: 1990 

Specialties: Fungal systematics, ecology and biogeography with a focus on species associated with tropical and island habitats. Bioluminescent fungi. Phylogeny of mushroom-forming lineages. 

My research focuses on discovering and documenting the diversity of fleshy fungi from under-explored tropical habitats worldwide.  I am interested in which species are present (biodiversity), their function in the ecosystem (ecology), who they are related to (phylogeny), how they got there and from where they came (phylogeography), and their uses by indigenous people (ethnomycology).  I currently have research projects in West Africa (São Tome and Princípe), Brazil (São Paulo), Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei and Kosrae), Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Hawaiian Islands, and of course, California.  My students and I generate monographic treatments of poorly known genera of mushrooms based on morphological, molecular and ecological datasets.  We are also deeply interested in bioluminescent fungi and are actively discovering and describing new species, developing hypothesis concerning their evolutionary relationships, and working to elucidate the biochemical mechanism of light emission in fungi.