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"At the scale of a moss [or lichen], walking through the woods as a six-foot human is a lot like flying over the continent at 32,000 feet. So far above the ground, and on our way to somewhere else, we run the risk of missing an entire realm which lies at our feet. Every day we pass over them without seeing. Mosses and other small beings issue an invitation to dwell for a time right at the limits of ordinary perception. All it requires of us is attentiveness. Look in a certain way and a whole new world can be revealed."

- Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss


Dr. Klara Scharnagl

Tucker Curator of Lichenology, University & Jepson Herbaria, UC Berkeley

Email: lichen_curator[at]berkeley[dot]edu


2013 - 2019 PhD in Plant Biology / Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, Michigan State University

Dissertation: Ecology and diversity of the lichen symbiosis: Following established patterns or an exception to the rule?

2011 – 2013 MS in Environmental Studies / Agroecology, Florida International University 

Thesis: The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on four legume hosts in south Florida pine rockland soils 

2006 – 2010 BA in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, The University of Chicago 

Senior Thesis: The ritual of healing: Interactions between the healer, and those being healed, across cultures and time 



2019-2021 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, England



Ostertag R, Restrepo C, Dalling JW, Martin PH, Abiem I, Aiba S, Alvarez-Dávila E, Aragón R, Ataroff M, Chapman H, Cueva-Agila AY, Fadrique B, Fernández RD, González G, Gotsch SG, Häger A, Homeier J, Iniguez-Armijos C, Llambí LD, Moore GW, Naesborg RR, López LNP, Pompeu PV, Powell JR, Ramírez Correa JA, Scharnagl K, Tobón C, Williams CB (2021 online, 2022 print) Litter decomposition rates across tropical montane and lowland forests are controlled foremost by climate. Biotropica 54(2): 309-326


Scharnagl K, Johnson D, Ebert-May D (2019) Shrub expansion and alpine plant community change: 40-year record from Niwot Ridge, Colorado. Plant Ecology & Diversity


Scharnagl K (2019) The Scale of Symbiosis. Symbiosis 78(1): 7-17


Scharnagl K, Sanchez V, von Wettberg E (2018) The impact of salinity on mycorrhizal colonization of a rare legume, Galactia smallii, in South Florida pine rocklands. BMC Research Notes 11:2


Lücking R, Moncada B, McCune B, Farkas E, Goffinet B, Parker D, Chaves JL, Lokos L, Nelson PR, Spribille T, Stenroos S, Wheeler T, Yanez-Ayabaca A, Dillman K, Gockman OT, Goward T, Hollinger J, Tripp EA, Villella J, Alvara-Alba WR, Arango CJ, Caceres MES, Coca LF, Printzen C, Rodriguez C, Scharnagl K, Rozzi R, Soto-Medina E and Yakovchenko LS (2017) Pseudocyphellaria crocata (Ascomycota: Lobariaceae) in the Americas is revealed to be thirteen species, and none of them is P. crocata. The Bryologist 120(4): 441-500


Scharnagl K, Scharnagl A, von Wettberg E (2017). Nature’s potato chip: the role of salty fungi in a changing world. On the Nature of Things, American Journal of Botany 104(5):641-644 


Buaruang K, Scharnagl K, Divakar P, Leavitt SD, Crespo A, Nash TH, Manoch L, Lücking R & Lumbsch HT (2015). Molecular data support Pseudoparmelia as a distinct lineage related to Reclina and Reclinopsis (Ascomycota, Lecanorales). The Lichenologist 47(1):43-49 


Jones EI, Afkhami ME, Akcay E, Bronstein JL, Bshary R, Frederickson ME, Heath KD, Hoeksema JD, Ness JH, Pankey MS, Porter SS, Sachs JL, Scharnagl K, Friesen ML (2015). Cheaters must prosper: reconciling theoretical and empirical perspectives on cheating in mutualism. Ecology Letters 18(11):1270-1284 



Scharnagl K, Tagirdzhanova G, Talbot N (2023) The coming golden age for lichen biology. Current Biology 33(11): R512-R518



Wellcome-Sanger Aquatic Symbiosis Genomes Grant: Marine Lichens Hub (sequencing funding)

Peder Sather Grant, UC Berkeley ($20,000)


National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology DBI-1907230 ($138,000)
[Recommended for funding, but declined in favor of a different postdoc]


National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant #1701736 ($20,151) 

Planting Science Digging Deeper Fellowship (workshop funding)


ForestGEO Research Grant, Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian ($7970)  

Beacon Grant with Carina Baskett, “Bringing Data to Life in Science Classrooms,” MSU ($13,877)

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