Centre for Phytophthora Science & Management (CPSM)


Marri research presented at New Zealand Conference

Sarah Sapsford is currently undertaking a PhD at Murdoch and working with the CPSM. Her project is focused on the decline of Marri in Western Australia due to a canker disease. Sarah recently attended the Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Mycological Society with the Fungal Network of New Zealand.

Sarah presented a talk at the conference titled “Mycorrhizal fungi associated with marri in Western Australia: a comparison across a disturbance gradient”.

The pattern of Marri decline and symptoms observed suggest a complex interaction of factors including nutrient imbalance and loss of mycorrhiza. The aim of this study was to determine changes in communities of mycorrhizal fungi on adult trees, along an anthropogenically disturbed gradient from road edge to intact forest and the ability of seedlings to grow and form mycorrhiza with soil collected along the gradient. Soil and root samples were collected from the field. In the glasshouse Marri seedlings were grown for 4 months in the collected soil. Next Generation Sequencing on the fine Marri roots from the glasshouse trial and the field transects reviled mycorrhizal communities changed across the disturbance gradient both from roots of adult trees and from the seedling baits. These changes where both in taxonomic groups and functional composition.

Sarah writes: The meeting was held in Queentown, New Zealand: a great location! On day 1, I attended a workshop on the RED listing of fungi in Oceania where I realized that there were only a few fungal species RED listed even though there are many more endangered! Over days 2 and 3, there were speakers from New Zealand, Australia, Spain, France, New Caledonia, South Korea, China, and Japan on a variety of topics. Topics ranged from medical mycology, plant and insect pathogens, fungal ecology and conservation. We were able to enjoy a fantastic conference dinner at the Skyline Queenstown. After the conference there was a 3 day fungal foray in Glenorchy where we witnessed spectacular scenery that was recognizable from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and a range of mushrooms, truffles, and other fungi.

Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wakatipu

birdsnest fungi (Nidulariaceae family)
Birdsnest fungi (Nidulariaceae family)

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