CMS Meeting: The Fungus Affecting Douglas Fir Forests

Presented by the Cascade Mycological Society

  • When:Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
  • Where: Amazon Community Center, 2700 Hilyard St, Eugene, Oregon 97405

According to an August 24, 2016 article in the Register Guard, an increasing number of Douglas fir trees in the Oregon Coast Range are suffering from a fungal disease known as Swiss needle cast, which is stunting the growth of the trees by about 50 percent and causing a significant economic impact. Patrick Bennett, a PhD student at OSU, will present findings related to his research involving two cryptic lineages of Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii, the Douglas-fir Swiss needle cast (SNC) fungus. His work aims to assess the geographic distributions of these lineages at several hierarchical scales in the Pacific Northwest, and determine their landscape-level distributions in New Zealand and Europe to associate these trends with SNC disease severity.

His findings of population genetics research reveals an interesting case of sympatric fungal speciation (i.e. the formation of a new and distinct species in the course of evolution).  He will summarize the current understanding of how this fungus, which was once an innocuous endophyte, emerged as a significant forest pathogen in its native range due to a combination of climate, changes in forest management practices, and interactions between these two recently diverged lineages.

oct-2016-patrick-bennettAbout the Speaker: Patrick Bennett’s interests in fungi and forest pathology were fostered in the rugged and wild forests of Northern California during his undergraduate studies at Humboldt State University, where he received his B.S. in Biology with an Ecology Emphasis. There he studied heartwood decay fungi in old growth Douglas-fir and pine forests, as well as the microbial ecology of leaf-litter decay in an acidic hot spring in Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Patrick is currently in the 4th year of his studies as a PhD student with Dr. Jeff Stone in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University.

The talk is free and open to the public. There will be a mushroom identification session prior to the speaker. Bring what’s in your basket, edible or not, and learn from the experienced members of our community.

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