Daniel is fascinated by the fungi that live in the submerged detritus at the bottom of peatlands and streams. The rich and diverse life represented by these fungal communities offers the potential for discovering novel fungal species that could produce all sorts of valuable natural compounds, and provide insights into fungal-driven ecological processes within these ecosystems.
Daniel’s route into science has taken him through study at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, Lock Haven University, and a period in full-time industry employment before his PhD completion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During his PhD, Daniel undertook several of the first in-depth analyses of how these submerged fungal communities are distributed between habitat as well as how they differ from each other.
As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Daniel developed his understanding of ecological toxicology with the Gunsch Lab at Duke University. He hopes to first gain a better understanding of how pollutants can move within aquatic ecosystems, then plans to evaluate how different classes of pollutants affect peatland, stream, and marsh that are home to a rich variety of fungal species. By combining his background in mycology with new research skills, Daniel hopes to provide a greater understanding of how these fungal communities are affected by environmental pollutants. He now continues his work as a postdoc at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.