General

Dr. Christina Beimforde

Geoscience Centre, University of Göttingen - GZG
Geobiology Group

Goldschmidtstr. 3
37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone:+49-(0)551-39-7903
Fax: +49-(0)551-397918
E-Mail:cbeimfo@gwdg.de


Professional background

  • 2009-2013 PhD student in the junior research group "Evolution of land plants and development of terrestrial ecosystems" of the Courant Research Centre Geobiology of the Georg-August-University Göttingen; PhD thesis: "The evolution of the Ascomycota – new insights from Mesozoic and Cenozoic amber fossils"
  • Since 2008 Scientific assistant in the junior research group "Evolution of land plants and development of terrestrial ecosystems" of the Courant Research Centre Geobiology of the Georg-August-University Göttingen
  • 2007-2008 Scientific assistant at the Department of Geobiology of the Georg-August-University Göttingen, research focus: Microorganisms associated with amber (biodeterioration)
  • 2006 Diploma thesis: "Effect of restoration agents on rock living microorganisms: microscopic and molecular analysis"
  • 1999-2006 Study of Biology at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
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Research Interests

I am interested in the palaeoecology and systematics of Phanerozic fungi, with a special focus on ascomycetes. Members of this group exhibit a tremendous variety of lifestyles and morphologies, ranging from single celled individuals to huge multi-cellular colonies. Ascomycetes are important degraders and they play a significant role in nutrient cycles of present ecosystems. Many ascomycetes live in symbiotic association, of which some such as mycorrhizae or lichens, are extremely successful. In particular mycorrhizae, which are associations between fungi and vascular plant roots, are abundant and ubiquitous in terrestrial ecosystems.



One particular focus of my work is the study of amber-preserved fossil ascomycetes in order to elucidate their palaeoecology. In comparison with organisms that possess robust tissues, there is only a rare fossil record of soft bodied organisms such as fungi since hyphae and fruiting bodies are very delicate and easily degradable. Besides chert, amber is a main source of well-preserved fossil ascomycetes. Due to the exceptional preservation of fungi inside fossil resins, minute diagnostic features are often accessible, allowing a characterization and direct comparison of the fossil fungi to extant taxa.



Mycorrhiza

Ectomycorrhiza in Eocene amber from India.



Apart from description and palaeoecological interpretation, amber preserved fungi are especially suitable for molecular clock approaches. This is mainly due to the extraordinary preservation which allows fossil specimens to be very precisely assigned to particular nodes in phylogenetic trees. In this way phylogenetic trees can be calibrated with great accuracy.



Additionally, I am interested in the (palaeo-) ecology of resin-associated ascomycetes. Several ascomycete species, such as Chaenothecopsis, are able to colonize liquid and solidified resin flows. Species of this genus may exhibit an extreme habitat-specificity and probably use compounds of the resins as a nutrient source.



Chaenothecopsis

Ascoma of Chaenothecopsis (Ascomycota, Mycocaliciales) in Eocene Baltic amber.

  • Microbial-induced degradation of materials (biodeterioration)
  • Micropalaeontology and palaeoecology
  • Evolution and systematics of the fungi
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Publications

(see Department of Geobiology homepage for a detailed record)


2017:

Beimforde, C., Seyfullah, L. J., Perrichot, V., Schmidt, K., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2017. Resin exudation and resinicolous communities on Araucaria humboldtensis in New Caledonia. Arthropod-Plant Interactions. DOI 10.1007/s11829-016-9475-3


Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2017. Parasitaxus parasitized: Novel infestation of Parasitaxus usta (Podocarpaceae). Arthropod-Plant Interactions. DOI 10.1007/s11829-016-9494-0


2016:

Rikkinen, J., Beimforde, C., Seyfullah, L. J., Perrichot, V., Schmidt, K. & Schmidt, A. R. 2016. Resinogalea humboldtensis gen. et sp. nov., a new resinicolous fungus from New Caledonia, placed in Bruceomycetaceae fam. nova (Ascomycota). Annales Botanici Fennici 53, 205-215.


2014:

Beimforde, C., Feldberg, K., Nylinder, S., Rikkinen, J., Tuovila, H., Dörfelt, H., Gube, M., Jackson, D. J., Reitner, J., Seyfullah, L. J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2014. Estimating the Phanerozoic history of the Ascomycota lineages: Combining fossil and molecular data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 78, 386-398.


Rikkinen, J., Tuovila, H., Beimforde, C., Seyfullah, L. J., Perrichot, V. & Schmidt, A. R. 2014. Chaenothecopsis neocaledonica sp. nov.: The first resinicolous mycocalicioid fungus from Araucariaceae. Phytotaxa 173, 49-60.


Schmidt, A. R., Beimforde, C., Seyfullah, L. J., Wege, S.-E., Dörfelt, H., Girard, V., Grabenhorst, H., Gube, M., Heinrichs, J., Nel, A., Nel, P., Perrichot, V., Reitner, J. & Rikkinen, J. 2014. Amber fossils of sooty moulds. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 200, 53-64.


2013:

Tuovila H, Schmidt AR, Beimforde C, Dörfelt H, Grabenhorst H, Rikkinen J (2013) Stuck in time – a new Chaenothecopsis species with proliferating ascomata from Cunninghamia resin and its fossil ancestors in European amber. Fungal Diversity 58, 199–213.


2012:

Sadowski E-M, Beimforde C, Gube M, Rikkinen J, Singh H, Seyfullah LJ, Heinrichs J, Nascimbene PC, Reitner J, Schmidt AR (2012) The anamorphic genus Monotosporella (Ascomycota) from Eocene amber and from modern Agathis resin. Fungal Biology 116, 1099–1110.


2011:

Beimforde C (2011) Biodeterioration (of Stone). In: Reitner J. & Thiel V. (eds), Encyclopedia of Geobiology, Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 112–117.


Beimforde C, Schäfer N, Dörfelt H, Nascimbene PC, Singh H, Heinrichs J, Reitner J, Rana RS, Schmidt AS (2011) Ectomycorrhizas from a Lower Eocene angiosperm forest. New Phytologist 192, 988–996.


Beimforde C, Schmidt AR (2011) Microbes in Resinous Habitats: A compilation from modern and fossil resins. In: Reitner J, Queric N-V, Arp G (eds), Advances in Stromatlite Geobiology. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences. 131, 391–407.


Conference contributions (abstracts and proceedings)

2013:

Beimforde, C., Feldberg, K., Tuovila, H., Rikkinen, J., Gube, M., Seyfullah, L. J., Dörfelt, H., Reitner, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2013. The potential of fossils preserved in amber for calibrating the molecular clock: An estimation of the Phanerozoic history of the Ascomycota. In Dickinson, K. & Lee, B. (eds) VII Southern Connection Congress 2013, Dunedin, New Zealand, 21–25 January 2013. Southern lands and southern oceans: life on the edge? Programme and abstracts, p. 9.


Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2013. Southern Hemisphere forests shedding light on reasons for amber accumulations. In Dickinson, K. & Lee, B. (eds) VII Southern Connection Congress 2013, Dunedin, New Zealand, 21–25 January 2013. Southern lands and southern oceans: life on the edge? Programme and abstracts, p. 116.


Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2013. Why do we have amber forests? Using modern studies to attempt to understand the relationship between resin production and amber deposits. In: Rascher, J., Rappsilber, I. & Wimmer, R. (eds) Bitterfelder Bernstein und andere fossile Harze aus Mitteldeutschland. III. Bitterfelder Bernsteinkolloquium, 23–25 May, 2013 in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Exkursionsführer und Veröffentlichungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften 249, 64–67.


2012:

Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2012. Understanding amber deposits through modern resin studies. Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting, Dublin, December 2012. Palaeontological Association Newsletter 81, 49.


Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2012. Sticky moments – understanding amber preservation through modern resin studies. Linnean Society Palaeobotany specialist group meeting. October 2012. Abstract vol. p. 6.

Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2012. The what and why of amber: attempting to understand the relationship between resin production and amber deposits. In: Witzmann, F. & Aberhan, M. (eds) Centenary Meeting of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft. Programme, Abstracts, and Field Guides, 24–29 September, 2012, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Germany. Terra Nostra 2012/3, 166–167.


Seyfullah, L. J., Beimforde, C., Perrichot, V., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2012. Resin production in Araucariaceae: enlightening amber deposition? International Organization of Paleobotany Congress, Tokyo, 23–30 August 2012. Japanese Journal of Palynology 58, 210.


2011:

Schmidt, A. R., Beimforde, C., Dörfelt, H., Nascimbene, P. C., Nel, A., Nel, P., Schäfer, N., Singh, H. & Wappler, T. 2011. New Ascomycota from Eocene forests and their interactions with plants and arthropods. In: Lehmann, T. & Schaal, S. F. K. (eds) The World at the Time of Messel: Puzzles in Palaeobiology, Palaeoenvironment, and the History of Early Primates. 22nd International Senckenberg Conference. 15–19 November, 2011, Frankfurt am Main. Conference Volume. Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt am Main, pp. 149–150.


2010:

Beimforde, C., Dörfelt, H., Girard, V., Grabenhorst, H., Muschalla, M., Reitner, J., Rikkinen, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2010. Fossile Rußtaupilze in mesozoischen und känozoischen Bernsteinen. In Wörheide, G. & Krings, M. (eds) 80. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, München, Germany, 5–8 October, 2010. Zitteliana, Series B 29, 21.


Beimforde, C., Dörfelt, H., Reitner, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2010. Amber and modern resins as habitats of microorganisms. FossilsX3: Insects, Arthropods, Amber, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China, 20–25 August, 2010, Abstracts, p. 113.


König, J., Beimforde, C., Reitner, J. & Schmidt, A. R. 2010. Fossile Prokaryoten in mesozoischen und känozoischen Bernsteinen. In Wörheide, G. & Krings, M. (eds) 80. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, München, Germany, 5–8 Oktober, 2010. Zitteliana, Series B 29, 60.


2009:

Beimforde, C. & Schmidt, A. R. 2009. Fossil and modern resins as habitats. 10th International Symposium on Mesozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems and Biota. Teruel, Spain, 17–19 September, 2009, Abstracts, pp. 65-266.


Beimforde, C. & Schmidt, A. R. 2009. Fossile und rezente Harze als Lebensräume. 79. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Bonn, 5–7 October, 2009. Terra Nostra 2009/3, 18-19.


2008:

Schmidt, A. R. & Beimforde, C. 2008. Fossil and Recent microbial associations from amber. In Reitner, J., Quéric, N.-V. & Reich, M. (eds) Geobiology of stromatolites. International Kalkowsky-Symposium, 4–11October, 2008, Abstracts, pp. 117-118. Universitätsverlag Göttingen.


Beimforde, C., Quéric, N.-V., Reich, M. & Reitner, J. 2008. Microbial diversity in and on Baltic and Bitterfeld amber. In: Löffler, S.-B. & Freiwald, A. (eds), Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Erlangen, 8–10 September 2008. Erlanger Geologische Abhandlungen, Sonderband 6, 76.

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picture:  Dr. Christina Beimforde