Dr Tuula Niskanen

Research Leader

Tuula Niskanen

I am interested in the diversity and evolution of mushrooms with a special interest in Cortinariaceae (Agaricales, Basidiomycota), one of the most diverse families of ectomycorrhizal fungi, containing several thousand species found all over the world.

Studies using DNA sequence data have shown that the diversity of fungi far exceeds earlier expectations and many common species of macrofungi still remain to be described and named. Understanding the evolutionary history of fungi is important. It sets a base for further studies of diverse evolutionary questions. It also provides the means for better understanding the current diversity and distribution of the species.

An additional goal is to improve the sequence based identification of fungi. Since the diversity of fungi is high and identification based on morphology is challenging, sometimes even impossible, DNA sequences provide a faster and a more reliable way to identify fungi. A high quality barcoding database is essential for ecological, environmental or further taxonomic research. Once completed, it will create a solid base for future studies.

  • PhD, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2008
  • MSc, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2003

Liimatainen, K., Kim, J.T., Pokorny, L., Kirk, P., Dentinger, B. & Niskanen, T.  (2022)

Taming the beast: a revised classification of Cortinariaceae based on genomic data.

Fungal Diversity 112: 89–170.

Cheek, M., Nic Lughadha, E., Kirk, P., (et al. incl. Niskanen, T.) (2020)

New scientific discoveries: Plants and fungi.

Plants, People, Planet 2:371–388.

Schoch, C. et al. (including Niskanen, T.) (2014) 

Finding needles in haystacks: linking scientific names, reference specimens and molecular data for Fungi.

Database 2014: 1–21. 

Kõljalg, U. et al. (including Niskanen, T.) (2013).

Towards a unified paradigm for sequence-based identification of fungi.

Molecular Ecology 22(21): 5271–5277.