Summer 2024 Updates!!

So many good things to report!

Let’s start with people… Aloha oe to Bryson and Giullia! And welcome to Postdoc Samira, a recent emigre from the Aime lab at Perdue, and Rayne (who survived our Mycology class this spring), excited to have you both around to help with Bromeliad food web work!

Syrena Whitner is *KILLING* it and received both the MSA Climate Change award AND a travel award to present at IMC in Maastricht.

We had a phenomenal time in Asilomar at the 2nd occasional marine fungi meeting. Having not been to a conference since 2019, it was so great to see familiar faces and catch up on great science. Stay tuned for updates and initiatives from CA.

Welcome to the Lab Fabi!

Fabiola has joined the lab and is working with Syrena, Bryson, Reese and Giulia on a project examining Chytrid pathogenicity on phytoplankton under climate change. Welcome aboard!

Lots of fun(gal) updates!

So, it’s been a minute since we’ve updated the website… here’s what you missed.

Big e komo mai to Quinn Moon, Giulia Marenco Di Moriondo, and Reese Tsubota who have stepped in to help with culturing and with our phytoplankton pathogen studies.  Glad you’re here!

Ronja received funding to present at SACNAS in Puerto Rico later this month, depending on the recovery situation there.

Syrena got funding for and presented at the Gordon Conference on Marine Microbes in Switzerland!  

Anthony took a new position in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, a unit within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.  The biggest change is that has assumed leadership of the Integrated Center of Environmental Microbiomes and Human Health, a Center of Biomedical Excellence funded by the NIH.  

In funding news, NSF gave the thumbs up on our Rules of Life proposal to study the role of Microbes in food web efficiency and complexity.  This 5 year grant is in collaboration with Nicole Hynson, Peter Sadowski and Matt Medeiros, and will use experimental microcosms to gain a mechanistic understanding of microbial roles in food webs.  We’ve started characterizing Bromeliad invertebrate and microbial communities to build up our understanding of this simple food web. Stay tuned for more on this.

Oh, yeah, we published a bunch of papers, check it out:

Amend, A. S., Swift, S. O., Darcy, J. L., Belcaid, M., Nelson, C. E., Buchanan, J., … & Hynson, N. A. (2022). A ridge-to-reef ecosystem microbial census reveals environmental reservoirs for animal and plant microbiomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences119(33), e2204146119.

Read more about this here

Darcy, J. L., Amend, A. S., Swift, S. O., Sommers, P. S., & Lozupone, C. A. (2022). specificity: an R package for analysis of feature specificity to environmental and higher dimensional variables, applied to microbiome species data. Environmental microbiome17(1), 1-12.

Tipton, L., Zahn, G. L., Darcy, J. L., Amend, A. S., & Hynson, N. A. (2022). Hawaiian fungal amplicon sequence variants reveal otherwise hidden biogeography. Microbial ecology83(1), 48-57.

Boekhout, T., Amend, A. S., El Baidouri, F., Gabaldón, T., Geml, J., Mittelbach, M., … & Yurkov, A. (2021). Trends in yeast diversity discovery. Fungal Diversity, 1-47.


This last year was quite a blur…Here’s what happened:


Post-doc Fouad El Baidouri left us for a researcher position with the Neafsy Lab at Harvard/Broad. Gone, but not forgotten! 

Dr. Andre Boraks successfully defended his PhD and is off to work with the International Conservation Fund of Canada.  A hui hou!

Joani Villiunas is heading downhill to work on glowing squid in the McFall-Ngai lab.

Sean Swift has moved on to persue his PhD in the Craig Nelson lab.

Anthony’s on sabbatical through January 2022 

Welcome to the lab:

Undergraduates Bryson Gonzalez, Chloe Twitchell, Max Gatlin and Tyler Stynes have been hard at work isolating marine fungi for our growing culture collection.

Isabel McRae is also helping out for the summer while on break from UCLA. 


Ronja Steinbach for her NOAA EPP MSI award and for receiving the UH Conservation Award to study marine fungal metabolism of plastics!  Great job!

Danyel Yogi for receivig an NSF REL supplement to fund her continuing work with Marine Malassezia.

Read all about it: 

Boraks, A., Plunkett, G. M., Doro, T. M., Alo, F., Sam, C., Tuiwawa, M., … & Amend, A. S. (2021). Scale-dependent influences of distance and vegetation on the composition of aboveground and belowground tropical fungal communities. Microbial Ecology81(4), 874-883.

Egan, C. P., Koko, J. H., Muir, C. D., Zahn, G., Swift, S. O., Amend, A. S., & Hynson, N. A. (2021). Restoration of the mycobiome of the endangered Hawaiian mint Phyllostegia kaalaensis increases its resistance to a common powdery mildew. Fungal Ecology52, 101070.

Bernard, J., Wall, C. B., Costantini, M. S., Rollins, R. L., Atkins, M. L., Cabrera, F. P., … & Amend, A. S. (2021). Plant part and a steep environmental gradient predict plant microbial composition in a tropical watershed. The ISME Journal15(4), 999-1009.

Tipton, L., Zahn, G. L., Darcy, J. L., Amend, A. S., & Hynson, N. A. (2021). Hawaiian Fungal Amplicon Sequence Variants Reveal Otherwise Hidden Biogeography. Microbial Ecology, 1-10.

Chock, M. K., Hoyt, B., & Amend, A. S. (2021). Mycobiome transplant increases resistance to Austropuccinia psidii in an endangered Hawaiian plant. Phytobiomes Journal.