Name: Santiago Sanchez-Ramirez
Title: A Tale on the Caesar's Mushroom
What does the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, the Mayas, Central African tribes and Himalayan sherpas have in common? They all appreciate the delicate taste of an Amanita mushroom! Amanita mushrooms are widespread in forest ecosystems worldwide, establishing symbiotic relationships with a broad range of trees, and consist of edible as well as hallucinogenic and deadly poisonous species. The mycology lab at the ROM studies the evolutionary history of Amanita mushrooms, in particular that of the edible species, which include the European species Amanita caesarea and the North
What are you going to talk about at the colloquium this year?
I'll be talking about the history of the Caesar's mushroom (Amanita caesarea) and related species, on two perspectives: anthropocentric and evolutionary.
How did you first become interested in this topic?
Since I was an undergrad, I did a bachelor's thesis on the genetic variation of a local population of a "caesaroid" species in Mexico.
What part of your research do you enjoy the most?
I would say everything about it. From collecting in new, unsampled places, to getting molecular data, to discovering new evolutionary patterns.