Conference Report: The Invasive Fungus

  • Emma Gilmartin

Last week members of the Fungal Ecology group attended ‘The Invasive Fungus’ focused meeting organised by the Society for General Microbiology and the British Mycological Society. Held in Manchester, the meeting aimed to bring together fungal researchers at the level of the hypha. Sessions over three days covered the broad topics of hyphal growth, invasion of plant and animal tissues, through to invasion of ecological environments.

 Lynne and the group
From left to right: Jade, Emma, Sarah and Lynne standing by Emma’s poster.

We particularly enjoyed hearing from Raymond St. Leger (Uni. Maryland) on his exciting work in Burkina Faso, using the insect pathogen Metarhizium to control malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. We learned how Epichloe, an endophyte of grasses, could survive serious mechanical stretching within its growing host, as revealed by Christine Voisey (AgResearch) using miniature torture racks. Nick Money’s (Miami Uni.) suggestion of mushrooms as rainmakers also prompted some thought. Do fungal spores act as nuclei for cloud formation? We’ll be interested to know.

Lynne presented to the conference on the fungal colonisation of standing trees. Sarah Johnston, Jade O’Leary and Emma Gilmartin each presented posters on their PhD research.