Daniele Armaleo

Associate Professor of the Practice Emerita of Biology

0052 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 660-7326
My research centers on the developmental and molecular biology of lichens, well differentiated symbioses between two or three evolutionarily unrelated organisms: specialized fungi on the one hand and algae or cyanobacteria on the other. The 13,500 known lichen species represent 50% of all known ascomycete fungi, are widespread throughout most terrestrial ecosystems, and often tolerate extreme temperatures and dryness. The photosynthetic partner is known to fix the carbon (and the nitrogen when cyanobacteria are involved) necessary for the survival of both symbionts. Lichen fungi and algae can be cultured separately, in an undifferentiated state. However, the in vitro reconstitution of a differentiated lichen from the isolated symbionts is still more of an art than a science. We use as model system the lichen Cladonia grayi and its isolated symbionts. One track is the genomic analysis of C. grayi. Another track involves the study of depsides, depsidones and dibenzofurans, a unique polyketide class of secondary metabolites produced by lichen fungi and probably central to the symbiosis. A third track seeks to develop an in vitro model for the lichenization process, using axenically cultured symbiotic partners.


  • Ph.D., Duke University School of Medicine 1984

Armaleo, Daniele, Olaf Müller, François Lutzoni, Ólafur S. Andrésson, Guillaume Blanc, Helge B. Bode, Frank R. Collart, et al. “The lichen symbiosis re-viewed through the genomes of Cladonia grayi and its algal partner Asterochloris glomerata.Bmc Genomics 20, no. 1 (July 23, 2019): 605. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-019-5629-x. Full Text

Armaleo, Daniele, Xiameng Sun, and Chicita Culberson. “Insights from the first putative biosynthetic gene cluster for a lichen depside and depsidone.Mycologia 103, no. 4 (July 2011): 741–54. https://doi.org/10.3852/10-335. Full Text

Joneson, Suzanne, Daniele Armaleo, and François Lutzoni. “Fungal and algal gene expression in early developmental stages of lichen-symbiosis.Mycologia 103, no. 2 (March 2011): 291–306. https://doi.org/10.3852/10-064. Full Text

Armaleo, D., and V. Miao. “Symbiosis and DNA methylation in the Cladonia lichen fungus.” Symbiosis 26, no. 2 (January 1, 1999): 143–63.

Armaleo, D., and P. Clerc. “A rapid and inexpensive method for the purification of DNA from lichens and their symbionts.” The Lichenologist 27, no. PART 3 (January 1, 1995): 207–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0024-2829(05)80019-2. Full Text

Armaleo, Daniele. “Lichen Lore.” Bioscience 44, no. 3 (March 1994): 125–125. https://doi.org/10.2307/1312245. Full Text

Culberson, C. F., and D. Armaleo. “Induction of a complete secondary-product pathway in a cultured lichen fungus.” Experimental Mycology 16, no. 1 (January 1, 1992): 52–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/0147-5975(92)90041-O. Full Text

Culberson, C. F., and D. Armaleo. “Induction of a complete secondary-product pathway in a cultured lichen fungus.” Experimental Mycology 16 (1992): 53–63.