Sara Branco
Sara Branco
Postdoc | Bruns Lab
321 Koshland Hall
Berkeley, California 94720-3102
Phone 510.642.8441
Lab Phone 510.642.8441

Curriculum Vitae

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in understanding the diversity of life. I focus on fungi and work to unveil the mechanisms involved in shaping their diversity in nature. I see communities and populations as part of a continuum and integrate these different biological levels of organization to achieve a broader understanding of diversity. I aim at clarifying the patterns and processes shaping fungal diversity, from adaptation and speciation to community assembly.


I am currently developing studies in three different areas:

  • Population differentiation in Suillus brevipes across North America
  • Spatial patterns of soil fungal diversity
  • Adaptation of ectomycorrhizal fungi to serpentine soils 


Google Scholar Citations -

  • Talbot, J.M., Bruns, T.D., Taylor, J.W., Smith, D.P., Branco, S., Glassman, S.I., Erlandson, S., Vilgalys, R., Liao, H.-L., Smith, M., Peay, K. G. In press. Endemism and functional convergence across the North American soil mycobiome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Gladieux, P., Ropars, J., Badouin, H., Branca, A., Aguileta, G., Vienne, D., Vega, R., Branco, S., Giraud, T. 2014. Fungal evolutionary genomics provide insights into the mechanisms of adaptive divergence in eukaryotes. Molecular Ecology 23:753-773 (Invited Review).
  • Branco, S.,  Bruns, T. D., Singleton, I. 2013. Fungi at a small scale: spatial zonation of fungal assemblages around single trees. PLoS One 8(10):e78295.
  • Bengtsson-Palme, J., Ryberg, M., Hartmann, M., Branco, S., Wang, Z., Godhe, A., De Wit, P., Sanchez-Garcia, M., Ebersberger, I., Sousa, F., Amend, A., Jumpponen, A., Unterseher, M., Kristiansson, E., Abarenkov, K., Bertrand, Y. J. K., Sanli, K., Eriksson, K. M., Vik, U., Veldre, V., Nilsson, R. H. 2013. Improved software detection and extraction of ITS1 and ITS2 from ribosomal ITS sequences of fungi and other eukaryotes for analysis of environmental sequencing data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4:914-919.
  • Talbot, J. M., Bruns, T. D., Smith, D. P., Branco, S., Glassman, S. I., Erlandson, S., Vilgalys, R., Peay, K. 2012. Independent roles of ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic communities in soil organic matter decomposition. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 57:282-291.
  • Branco, S. 2011. Fungal diversity – an overview. In Grillo & Venora (eds) The Dynamic Processes in Biodiversity – Case Studies in Evolution and Spatial Distribution. ISBN 979-953-307-250-9.
  • Nilsson, R. H., Veldre V., Wang, Z., Eckart, M., Branco, S., Hartmann, M., Quince, C., Godhe, A., Bertrand, Y., Alfredsson, J. F., Larsson, K.-H., Kõljalg, U., Abarenkov K. 2011. A note on the incidence of reverse complementary fungal ITS sequences in the public sequence databases and a software program for their detection and reorientation. Mycoscience, 52 (4):272-282.
  • Branco, S. 2010. Serpentine soils promote ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity. Molecular Ecology, 19:5566-5576.
  • Branco, S. & Ree, R. 2010. Serpentine soils do not limit ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11757.
  • Avis, P., Branco, S, Tang, Y., Mueller, G. 2009. Pooled samples bias community descriptions. Molecular Ecology Resources, 10:135-141.
  • Branco, S. 2009. Are oaks locally adapted to serpentine soils? Northeastern Naturalist 16 (special issue 5):329-340.
  • Bidartondo, M, ..., Branco, S., et al.  2008. Preserving accuracy in GenBank. Science 319:1616.
  • Branco, S. 2002. Inventariação Preliminar de Comunidades Macrofúngicas em Matas da Serra de Sintra. Revista de Biologia, 20:179-190.