Ioana Onut Brännström

researcher at Department of Organismal Biology, Systematic Biology

Visiting address:
Evolutionsbiologiskt centrum, Norbyv. 18D
75236 Uppsala
Postal address:
Norbyv. 18D
75236 Uppsala

Short presentation

Understanding lichens using an evolutionary biologists glasses and a "naturalist" mind

The aim of my doctoral studies is to increase the general understanding of lichen symbiosis using the lichen Thamnolia vermicularis as a model sytem. I am especially focusing my efforts on poorly known aspects of lichens life cycle like reproduction, photobiont acquisition, dispersal patterns.

Also available at

My courses


A bit about me and my journey in lichen world

I finished my bachelor studied in Romania in 2005 at Bucharest University obtaining a license in biology. During this time I obtained my basic biology proficiencies from organisms taxonomy, anatomy, physiology , microbiology to basic genetics. Immediately after I followed the Master of Taxonomy and Biodiversity Conservation offered by Bucharest University. When I finished this master (2006) I had the opportunity to work for a short period at the Romanian Ministry of Environment as a consultant. Still my interest was biology and therefore I decided to continue as a researcher at the Institute of Biology Bucharest and this was place where my interest in lichens started.

In 2008 I moved to Uppsala and started the Master in Evolutionary Biology offered by Uppsala University at Evolutionary Biology Centre. The skills and knowledge I gained during this time in Uppsala (e.g. evolutionary thinking, understanding concepts of population genetics, gaining lab experience) were perfectly blending with my previous education. Suddenly I started to look at lichens and their symbiosis in a new light and literarily a new world opened in from of me with many ideas and possibilities. My naturalist glasses were still on but my way of thinking changed from a pure taxonomist to an evolutionary biologist.

In 2012 Hanna Johannesson accepted me as doctoral student and she agreed to work with me on lichens. Since then we discovered together many cool things about lichens but we also changed our view about lichen symbiosis. One important thing I learned since 2009 is that understanding lichen symbiosis is not trivial. Even the word per se (lichen) is covering a plethora of fungal and algal life styles and the story seems to get more and more complicated with every new discovery we make.

But that is just fun and challenging!


Please contact the directory administrator for the organization (department or similar) to correct possible errors in the information.