Current Students

Bubba Pfeffer (they/them/theirs)

Well before learning what they are, I first began seeing lichens on old live oaks in and around Houston, TX. As an undergraduate at Appalachian State University, I learned about the symbiosis that underpins lichens. Since then, I have been interested in investigating the evolutionary and ecological factors that drive lichen symbiosis. My research began as an assistant in the Bryophytologists and Lichenologists of the Southern Appalachian Cliff Communities research lab.

As a graduate student at EWU, my research focuses on the genetic architecture that informs and is shaped by the evolution of lichen asexuality. In addition, my research interests include epiphytic lichen ecology, fungal trophic habits, lichen physiology, the evolution of symbiosis, and the broad implications that fungi have on our global ecosystems and economies.


Stephen Sharrett (he/they)

I first collaborated with Dr. Allen during my senior capstone project at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA where I completed my B.A.S. with emphases on biology and printmaking. My capstone research focused on Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis, a rare tripartite lichen species endemic old-growth temperate rainforests in northwestern North America. The goals of that project were to 1) delimit the current distribution of P. rainierensis in Washington state, 2) characterize the population genetic structure of P. rainierensis and 3) determine the influence of forest stand age and continuity on the distribution and population genetic structure of the species. That project helped me to solidify my research interests in landscape genetics and biodiversity conservation.

As a graduate student at Eastern Washington University, I plan to continue to strengthen my skills in landscape genetics and biodiversity conservation while working within the context of the lichen holobiont. I am currently developing a project that will explore the life history and population genetic structure of lichen symbiont species in the genus Stereocaulon known from the Appalachian Mountains. My ultimate goal is to further our understanding of lichen holobiont life histories in the Appalachian Mountains and inform regional biodiversity conservation initiatives.


Past Students

Graduate Students

Giovanna Bishop (she/her/hers)

Giovanna recently graduated with her M.S. in Biology from Eastern Washington University. Giovanna’s Masters Project was on the impacts of rock climbing on lichen and bryophyte cliff communities at local rock climbing areas in Spokane, WA, USA. Giovanna’s research interests include taxonomy, biodiversity, and conservation of lichens, bryophytes, fungi, and algae, floristics, cliff ecology, and natural history collections-based research. Her past outreach activities include forays, Bioblitz’s, leading hikes on lichens and bryophytes, and educating youth about the importance of the environment and different ecosystems. Giovanna hopes to continue collecting, identifying, and studying both lichens and bryophytes and to follow her passion for preserving the environment and natural history collections through future research and job opportunities. Before joining the graduate program at EWU Giovanna completed her B.S. in Environmental Science at Wheaton College and worked in the Harvard University Herbarium.

email address:

Undergraduate Students

Amanda Chandler

Emma Sell

Ridge Walston

Chandler Lymbery

Jessica L. Allen, PI (she/her)

B.S. in biology at Eastern Washington University
Ph.D. at The City University of New York Graduate Center and The New York Botanical Garden
Post-doctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research, WSL.

Current Positions
Assistant Professor at Eastern Washington University
Co-chair for the IUCN SSC Lichen Specialist Group
Member-at-Large for the American Bryological and Lichenological Society
Member of the IUCN SSC Fungal Conservation Committee. 

e-mail: jallen73 [at]

Google Scholar Profile


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