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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Biology (B.A.)

William Sanders

Associate Professor
Phone: (239) 590-7639
Office: WH 211


  • Ph.D., Botany, University of California, Berkeley, 1989
  • B.S., Biological Sciences, Cornell University, 1981


  • BSC 1010C General Biology I (Fall and Spring)
  • BOT 3015C Lives of Plants and Algae (Spring)


I’m a plant biologist broadly trained in the morphology, development and diversity of plants, fungi and algae. My research combines these interests by focusing on the structure, growth and development of lichens, which are plant-like symbiotic composites formed by specialized fungi in collaboration with specific algae.

Selected Publications

  • Sanders WB, de los Ríos A. 2015. Structure and in situ development of the microlichen Gyalectidium paolae (Gomphillaceae, Ascomycota), an overlooked colonist on palm leaves in southwest Florida. American Journal of Botany 102 (9): 1403-1412.
  • SandersWB, Lücking R. 2015. Three new species of foliicolous Gomphillaceae (lichen-forming ascomycetes) from southern Florida. Bryologist: 170-177.
  • Sanders WB, Tokamov SA [FGCU undergraduate]. 2015. Diffuse growth in the fruticose beard lichen Ramalina usnea. The Lichenologist 47: 51-58.
  • Sanders WB. 2014. Complete life cycle of the lichen fungus Calopadia puiggarii (Pilocarpaceae, Ascomycetes) documented in situ: propagule dispersal, establishment of symbiosis, thallus development, and formation of sexual and asexual reproductive structures. American Journal of Botany 101: 1836-1848.
  • Sanders WB, de los Ríos A. 2012. Development of thallus axes in Usnea longissima, a fruticose lichen showing diffuse growth. American Journal of Botany 99: 998-1009.
  • Lücking R. Seavey F, Common RS, Beeching SQ, Breuss O, Buck WR, Crane L, Hodges M, Hodkinson BP, Lay E, Lendemer JC, McMullin RT, Mercado-Díaz J, Nelsen MP, Rivas Plata E, Safranek W, Sanders WB, Schaefer HP, Seavey J. 2011. The lichens of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Florida: Proceedings from the 18th Tuckerman Workshop. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 49: 127-186.
  • Sanders WB. 2006. A feeling for the superorganism: expression of plant form in the lichen thallus. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 150: 89-99.
  • Sanders WB, Moe RL, Ascaso C. 2005. Ultrastructural study of the brown alga Petroderma maculiforme (Phaeophyta) in the free-living state and in lichen symbiosis with the intertidal marine fungus Verrucaria tavaresiae (Ascomycota). European Journal of Phycology 40: 353-361.
  • Sanders WB. 2005. Investigating lichen life cycles using transparent substrates placed in situ. Lichenologist 37: 383-395.
  • Sanders WB, Moe RL, Ascaso C. 2004. The intertidal marine lichen formed by the pyrenomycete fungus Verrucaria tavaresiae R.L. Moe (Ascomycotina) and the brown alga Petroderma maculiforme (Wollny) Kuckuck (Phaeophyceae): thallus organization and symbiont interaction. American Journal of Botany 91: 511-522.
  • Sanders WB. 2002. In situ development of the foliicolous lichen Phyllophiale (Trichotheliaceae) from propagule germination to propagule production. American Journal of Botany 89: 1741-1746.
  • Sanders WB, Lücking R. 2002. Reproductive strategies, relichenization, and thallus development observed in situ in leaf-dwelling lichen communities. New Phytologist 155: 425-435.
  • Sanders WB. 2001. Lichens: interface between mycology and plant morphology. Bioscience 51: 1025-1035.