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David Hibbett is an evolutionary biologist specializing in the study of fungi (mycology), particularly mushrooms. His current research emphasizes genomics and molecular evolution but also draws on morphology, developmental biology, and paleomycology. He is a professor of biology at Clark University, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Mushrooms are beautiful, diverse, and varied in their ecological roles. A dedicated community of amateur mycologists is passionate about mushrooms and curious about the natural world. Unfortunately, they are largely cut off from recent advances in fungal evolutionary biology, which are presented in specialized journals. As a Radcliffe fellow, Hibbett is writing a book on fungal evolution, “Mushrooms in the Tree of Life,” for a general audience. The book will encourage and empower amateur mycologists to interpret the historical narratives that are embodied in evolutionary trees and reveal the role of fungi in the history of life.
Hibbett received his PhD from Duke University and held postdoctoral appointments at the Tottori Mycological Institute, in Japan, and the Harvard University Herbaria. His research has been supported principally by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute. Hibbett is a past president of the Mycological Society of America, which named him a 2008 MSA Fellow and awarded him its 2000 Alexopoulos Prize.