Gary Laursen


High Latitude Mycological Research Institute, LLC

galaursen [at]


682 Lancaster Drive
Fairbanks, AK 99712
United States

Brief Biography

Dr. Laursen's research in mycology (study of fungi-mushrooms and toadstools) focuses on fungal genomics, phylogeography, systematics, taxonomy, and ecology. Experiences have included 38 years of extensive field and laboratory studies in arctic, subarctic and subantarctic environs. Alaskan work has focused on ecological and systematic problems demonstrated by the higher fungi in five of six AK provinces (Southeast, South Central, Western Arctic, Interior, and Northern Arctic and alpine zones). Research investigations have emphasized ecological studies on subantarctic, boreal, alpine, maritime, taiga, subarctic, and Arctic tundra fungi. A broad ecological base has been gained from extensive fieldwork performed. Not only fungi, but also associated lichens, lichenicolous fungi, slime molds, bryophytes and higher plant assemblages and their adaptive mechanisms within tundra (cold-dominated) habitats have been emphasized in research conducted. Studies in fungal systematics and in determining roles played within tundra plant communities continue.

Examples of presentations include:

* Mushrooms Demystified: Roles and associations of fungi in Arctic Environments

* Cycles in the Forest: Mammals, Mycophagy, and Mycorrhizae

* High Latitude Fungal Associations of SE Alaska's Cold Temperate Rain Forest: Tongass Truffles and Other Goodies

* Studies of Alaskan Cellular Slime Molds

* Phylogeography of basidiolichen-forming Lichenomphalia Redhead species of Arctic, subarctic, and sub-Antarctic regions

Science Specialties

mycology, biodiversity, tundra ecology

Current Research

Arctic and alpine mycology - circumpolar. Beringian mycology and biodiversity. Subarctic and subantarctic island archipelago comparisons. Fungal biodiversity of Macquarie Island, Australia. Fungal biodiversity within Denali National Park. Fungal biodiversity of Beringia: far eastern Russia and western Alaska. Arctic and alpine mycology of Alaska.