Research interests

My research interests are centered on the phylogeny and evolution of the smut fungal genus Microbotryum. The parasites in this group are known from hosts belonging to phylogenetic different plant families: Asteraceae, Caryophyllaceae, Dipsacaceae, Gentianaceae, Lamiaceae, Lentibulariaceae, Onagraceae, Polygonaceae, Portulacaceae, and maybe Primulaceae. Morphological species distinction in Microbotryum is mainly based on hosts, the well-defined locations of spore production, as well as color and shape of the spores. A major focus of my work is therefore the application of molecular methods to the phylogenetic relationships of the different species (~80) inside this parasitic clade. Our work so far has shown that often but not in all cases the current species distinctions based on morphological characters correlates well with the phylogenetic species distinctions. In cases were this correlation was not given it could be shown that these morpho-species consisted of species two or more cryptic species exhibiting a very narrow host range.
Thereby one of the current topics is the convergent (parallel?) evolution of parasitism on the same host family as well as the location of the sorus in the same organs of different host families in different monophyletic groups of Microbotryum.
Ongoing research is also conducted in anther smuts of the Caryophyllaceae, where most cryptic species have been revealed my molecular methods so far. Of special interest are the parasites on Dianthus, which seem to show a distinction in several phylogenetic separated clades that could not be correlated with any of the morphological characters.


Kemler M, Lutz M, Göker M, Oberwinkler F, Begerow D (2009) Hidden diversity in the non-caryophyllaceous plant parasite members of Microbotryum (Pucciniomycotina: Microbotryales). Systematics and Biodiversity 7: 297-306 *
Kemler M, Begerow D, Lutz M (2009) Biodiversität von Brand- und Rostpilzen auf der Alp Flix und was man daraus über die Evolution und Biologie der Pflanzenparasiten lernen kann. Jahrberichte der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Graubünden , in press *
Lutz M, Piatek M, Kemler M, Chlebicki A, Oberwinkler F (2009) Anther smuts of Caryophyllaceae: molecular analyses reveal further new species. Mycological Research , in press *
Kemler M, Göker M, Oberwinkler F, Begerow D (2006) Implications of molecular characters for the phylogeny of the Microbotryaceae (Basidiomycota: Urediniomycetes). BMC Evolutionary Biology 6: 35 *
Lutz M, Göker M, Piatek M, Kemler M, Begerow D, Oberwinkler F (2005) Anther smuts of Caryophyllaceae: Molecular characters indicate host-dependent species delimitation. Mycological Progress 4: 225-238 *



Dr Martin Kemler
Postdoctoral Fellow
Ruhr-University Bochum
Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants
Geobotany - ND 03/171
Universitätsstraße 150
44801 Bochum

Tel. +49 234 32 25391
Fax +49 234 32 14434