Vanuatu is a South-Pacific archipelago of more than 80 islands, situated between New Caledonia, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands, all of which are globally recognized biodiversity hotspots. Vanuatu’s biota is considered an important component of the region’s status as a global center of biodiversity, and the “Vanuatu rain forest” vegetation type is recognized as an endangered terrestrial eco-region. Despite its significance as a likely treasure trove of biodiversity, the fungi of Vanuatu remain largely undocumented. The Perry lab at CSU East Bay is documenting the fungal diversity of Tafea Province, Vanuatu, as part of a broader project that also includes documenting the plant and linguistic diversity of the province. We have completed two expeditions to the islands since July 2017, and have found a number of interesting fungi that we are excited to study and share with you in this travelogue-style presentation.
Brian received a PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University in 2006, where he worked on the systematics and evolution of the Ascomycete family Pyronemataceae. From there Brian went on to a postdoctoral position at San Francisco State University and then joined the faculty at the University of Hawaii in 2009 as an assistant professor of Biology. In 2013 Brian accepted a faculty position at California State University East Bay, finally making it back to California where he was born and raised. Brian has been studying fungal diversity, systematics and evolution since 1995. In addition to documenting the mushrooms and other fungi of Vanuatu, Dr. Perry’s research focuses on the assembly, dynamics and biogeography of island fungal communities, endophytic fungi of Hawaiian plants, California fungi, the systematics of Mycena and allied genera and the evolution of fungal bioluminesence. Brian teaches both introductory and advanced courses in mycology at CSU East Bay.