New member of staff – Mika Helene Kirkhus

Foto: privat

Mika Helene Kirkhus, stipendiat

Hi, I am Mika, and I just started my PhD with Vigdis Vandvik (UiB) and Håvard Kauserud (UiO), as part of the DURIN project. I am staying at UiO until the summer of 2024 to learn more about fungal metabarcoding with the “Oslo Mycology Group”, which is a major part of my project. Next autumn I will move to Bergen to be part of the research group “Between the Fjords”.

I obtained a Master’s degree in biosystematics at NTNU in Trondheim, where I have mainly been studying lichens and their mycobiome. I also have some experience from working as a consultant using Natur i Norge (NiN) to map nature types and red-listed species all over Norway. My research interests include finding the hidden fungal diversity using molecular methods, both short-read and long-read sequencing. My PhD project focuses on ericoid mycorrhiza and their interactions with dwarf-shrubs in a changing climate. I am going to map the diversity and distribution of ericoid mycorrhiza across a climatic gradient in Norway, in addition to looking into how this fungi contributes to carbon storage, drought tolerance, and nutrient uptake of the host plants. This research will hopefully tell us more about how the symbiosis between mycorrhiza and dwarf-shrubs are influencing global climate change.

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