Fungi play an essential role in maintaining a healthy, functioning habitat, e.g. as the agents of decay or as mycorrhizal plant symbionts. Industrially, they are used to produce food (inc. mushrooms), enzymes and chemicals, with increasing interest in their use to convert plant biomass into useful compounds and biofuels.
The Swansea Fungal Molecular Ecology group focuses on fungi that drive lignocellulose decay. Many fungi are able to decompose complex lignocellulosic substrates (e.g. wood), yet in nature, wood decay is usually brought about by a community of microorganisms that change over time. We aim to understand the mechanisms of decomposition through the application of mulitiomics technologies and explain how interactions between decay fungi drive successional change in the decaying community.
Additional research of the group includes aspects of mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) cultivation, rare dune orchid (Liparis loeselii) symbionts, and the regulation of entomopathogenesis by Metarhizium spp.