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Mary Catherine Aime

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Professor
Lilly Hall Room 1-335

Researchers in the Aime lab study all aspects of mycology, from genomics to pathology, although at its core the lab focuses on the earliest diverging lineages of Basidiomycota (Pucciniomycotina, Ustilaginomycotina, and Wallemiomycetes) and on basidiomycetes in tropical ecosystems. Our primary focus is on: (1) Systematics, biology, and evolution of rust fungi; the rust fungi represent the single largest group of plant pathogens with incredibly complex life cycles. Our work in this area uses phylogenetics and genomics to try and understand how these fungi became so successful and to provide tools for their identification. (2) Biodiversity of tropical fungi; it is conservatively estimated that more than 1 million fungal species have yet to be discovered and described by science and that many of these may reside in tropical world regions that have not yet been explored for fungi. Dr. Aime has spent 15 years documenting and describing new species and genera from a very remote region in Guyana and other tropical forests worldwide. (3) Systematics and biology of earliest diverging Basidiomycota, which includes the rust and smut fungal lineages and their non-pathogenic yeast and yeast-like relatives.

More information is available on the Aime lab page:

Awards & Honors

(2009) Fellow. Linnean Society of London.

(2007) Fellow. Explorer's Club.

Selected Publications

Spribille, T., Tuovinen, V., Resl, P., Vanderpool, D., WEolinski, H., Aime, M. C., . . . McCutcheon, J. P. (n.d.). Basidiomycete yeasts in the cortex of ascomycete macrolichens. Science, 353, 488–492.

Dentinger, B., Gaya, E., O'Brien, H., Suz, L. M., Lachlan, R., Diaz-Valderrama, J. R., . . . Aime, M. C. (2016). Tales from the crypt: Genome mining from fungarium specimens improves resolution of the mushroom tree of life. Biological Journal of The Linnaean Society. Retrieved from

Sanchez-Garcia, N., Henkel, T. W., Aime, M. C., Smith, M. E., & Matheny, P. B. (n.d.). Guyanagarika, a new ectomycorrhizal genus of Agaricales from the Neotropics. Fungal Biology, 120, 1540-1553.

Kijpornyongpan, T., & Aime, M. C. (n.d.). Rare or rarely detected? Ceraceosorus guamensis sp. nov.: A second described species of Ceraceosorales and the potential for underdetection of rare lineages with common sampling techniques. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 109, 127–139.

Diaz-Valderrama, J. R., & Aime, M. C. (n.d.). The cacao pathogen Moniliophthora roreri (Marasmiaceae) possesses a tetrapolar mating system but reproduces clonally. Journal of Heredity, 116, 491-501.

Violaceomyces palustris gen. et sp. nov. and a new monotypic lineage, Violaceomycetales ord. nov. in Ustilaginomycetes. (2015). Mycologia. Retrieved from :

Aime, M., Toome, M., & McLaughlin, D. (2014). The Pucciniomycotina. In The Mycota VII Part A. Systematics and Evolution. D.J. McLaughlin and J.W. Spatafora (Eds.) (2nd Ed., 271-294). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

Koch, R. A., Wilson, A., Sene, O., Henkel, T., & Aime, M. C. (n.d.). Resolved phylogeny and biogeography of the root pathogen Armillaria and its gasteroid relative, Guyanagaster. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17.

McLaughlin, D. J., Kumar, T., Padamsee, M., Toome-Heller, M., Frieders, E., & Aime, M. C. (n.d.). Structural character evolution in Pucciniomycotina: Mitosis, septa and hyphal branch initiation in two Helicogloea species. Mycologia, In Press.

Diaz-Valderrama, J. R., & Aime, M. C. (n.d.). The cacao pathogen Moniliophthora roreri (Marasmiaceae) produces rhexolytic thallic conidia and their size is influenced by nuclear condition. Mycoscience, 57, 208-216.

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