Part of the aim of AMS is to make Mycological Research more accessible and to amplify the efforts of mycologists in Australasia and around the world. Join us for some of the latest and most exciting mycology-focused seminars, in the comfort of your home or office! You'll be able to learn from experts in medical mycology, biotechnology, environmental microbiology, plant and animal pathology, taxonomy and systematics, and phylogenetics. Seminars normally occur on the last Wednesday of each month at 12:00pm AEST (Sydney time) with any exceptions highlighted. Talks are 30 minutes long and are followed by 15 minutes of questions from the audience. Zoom links are provided prior to the date where you can register to attend.
Seminars are free for AMS members and the public, but we encourage non-members to make a AU$5 donation to our society via PayPal. You can do that by clicking on the PayPal button:
If you are interested in presenting your mycological research, please get in touch with the AMS council.
Upcoming Virtual Seminars
May 25, 12:00 PM AEST: Kar-Chun Tan (KC)
The Centre for Crop Disease Management at Curtin University
TOPIC: Untangling the ‘Gordian knot’ – How to unravel a complex fungal disease of wheat by understanding its game of effector hide-and-seek
Summary: Breeding for durable resistance to fungal diseases in crops is a continual challenge for crop breeders. Association studies on mapping populations infected by isolate mixtures are often used by researchers to seek out novel sources of genetic resistance. Often, disease resistance quantitative trait loci (QTL) detected are often minor and inconsistent. This is a problem with septoria nodorum blotch (SNB) of wheat caused by Parastagonospora nodorum. The fungus uses a suite of necrotrophic effectors (NEs) to cause SNB. Interactions between these NEs are complex during infection, where they masked each other’s contribution to SNB through epistasis and impedes progress in breeding for SNB resistance in wheat. We characterised a genetic element, called PE401, in the promoter of the major NE gene Tox1. PE401 functions as a transcriptional repressor of Tox1 and exerts epistatic control on another major SNB resistance QTL in the host. Implications of this finding in crop protection will be discussed.
June 29, 12:00 PM AEST: Camille Truong
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Australia.
TOPIC: Ectomycorrhizal fungi and the nitrogen economy of Nothofagus
Summary: Nitrogen (N) is a primary factor limiting the productivity of temperate forests. Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi provide essential N to their host plants, but research on plant symbioses and C/N pools is disproportionately focused on northern hemisphere regions. For example, conifer vegetation is the main plant functional type in boreal forests, while southern temperate forests are dominated by ECM angiosperms in the families Myrtaceae and Nothofagaceae. In this talk, I will discuss the role of ECM fungi for N availability is subantarctic forests of Patagonia and how diverse soil fungi contribute to shape the highly structured forests of Tierra del Fuego (Chile and Argentina).
Past Virtual Seminars (2022)
Tuesday April 26, 12:00 PM AEST: Dr Alistair McTaggart
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland
TOPIC: Sex and Drugs
Summary: Psilocybin is a psychoactive compound produced by over 200 species of Fungi (magic mushrooms), and has clinical potential to treat anxiety, depression and addiction. Psilocybin is a controlled substance and the biodiversity, taxonomy and distribution of magic mushrooms is poorly understood. Alistair hopes to (i) establish a living biological collection with the first permit granted in Australia to study magic mushrooms, (ii) resolve the taxonomy of Psilocybe subaeruginosa, and (iii) test hypotheses that P. subaeruginosa is native and P. cubensis is introduced to Australia. The project will provide a suite of biological, taxonomic, genomic, and chemical resources for future researchers. The project has potential impact for the international use and biopiracy of putative Australian species of psychoactive mushroom, the importation of living biological resources to produce psilocybin, and ongoing research into potential uses of psilocybin for human health and animal welfare.
Check out Alistair's research blog for updates here: https://alistairmctaggart.weebly.com/magicmushrooms.
Zoom Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_imD5CI2LSkGgN_FDoXrEFw
March 30, 12:00 PM AEST: Dr Peri Tobias
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney
TOPIC: A chromosome-level genome sheds new light on the mating strategy for Austropuccinia psidii (myrtle rust)
Summary: Environmental plant pathogens pose major challenges for containment. Austropuccinia psidii is a plant fungal pathogen causing rust disease on plants in the Myrtaceae family. Originating in Brazil, the pandemic strain was first found in Australia in 2010 and in New Zealand in 2017. Myrtle rust is a rapidly spreading plant disease and a serious biosecurity threat to Australia’s natural environment. In 2021 we showed that A. psidii had the largest assembled fungal genome at 1 Gbp (haploid), largely due to a massive expansion of transposable elements. The data from the genome permitted the development of molecular markers currently being used for biosecurity testing. Recently we were able to make a more comprehensive chromosome-level genome for this rust fungus. By correctly assigning chromosomes we were able to scrutinise the mating loci in both sets of chromosomes of this dikaryotic organism. This new di-haploid genome provided novel evidence on the mating gene structure and arrangement, only possible from sequence data that has not been collapsed. These findings are useful for determining the biosecurity risks and for understanding potential population structure of the pathogen.
Feb 23, 12:00 PM AEST: Wayne Boatwright
President of the Queensland Mycological Society
Topic: Collecting and Describing Fungi - Citizen Science in Action
Summary: Ever wondered how to find out more about collecting and identifying fungi? Each year the Queensland Mycological Society mentors its members about citizen science by encouraging them to become specimen collectors for and on behalf of Herbaria. Fungal specimens are under-collected but a much needed resource for future mycological work. Our workshop covers everything you need to know about being a specimen collector, from safety in the field, legal and ethical collecting, through to identifying, processing and describing your specimen before lodging this valuable resource at a Herbarium.
If you're interested in learning how to find, ID, collect and describe fungi, join us to hear Wayne give an introduction to his much-sought-after workshop. This seminar is a perfect taster for a broad audience of fungal-enthusiasts including researchers, collectors, farmers, gardeners, citizen scientists, even hikers and students with an eye for natural details.
We'll also be using this seminar to launch the 2022 AMS Research Grants and two new grants offered by our friends at FungiMap which are aimed at funding Citizen Science
27 January 2022, 12 pm: Dr Jonathan Plett
Senior lecturer in plant-microbe interactions at Western Sydney University
Topic: Ecological Mergers: exploring how ectomycorrhizal fungi use secreted signals to negotiate host colonization
Summary: The merger that occurs between plants and mutualistic fungi is negotiated by a complex series of communications, where the vocabulary of the exchange is populated by a range of chemicals and proteins. In the interaction between plants and microbes we can identify hundreds of communication signals using multi-omic approaches. What these lists do not tell us, however, is the function or specificity of these signals within a specific symbiotic interaction. This gap in our knowledge can be addressed by studying the mechanistic activity of these molecules and the context within which they operate. In this talk, I will cover our work into identifying the proteomic, nucleic acid, and metabolomic signals used by mutualistic fungi during the interaction with their host plant. I will specifically focus on one of our main model systems: the mutualistic symbiosis between Pisolithus and Eucalyptus and will discuss some of our current theories upon how minor changes in this molecular dialogue impacts the ultimate fate of the interaction.
Past Virtual Seminars (2021)
January 2021: Dr Stephanie Watts-Fawkes ,
Research Officer, Crop Nutrition, NSW Department of Primary Industries
Identifying and characterising a zinc transporter involved in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis
February 2021: Matthias Johannes Salomon,
PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide
Global analysis of microbial inoculants containing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: 84% of the tested products contained no active propagules
March 2021: A/Prof Amanda Black,
Bioprotection Research Centre, Lincoln University
Genomes to Giants: kauri die back and the fight to save these ancient trees
April 2021: Professor Ana Traven,
Infection and Immunity Research Program at the Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University
Metabolic drives of host-pathogen interactions in fungal infections
May 2021: Dr Sarah Sapsford,
Fungal and Disease Ecology, University of Canterbury
How fungi can change ecosystems
June 2021: Professor Treena Burgess,
Research and Innovation, Murdoch University
Urban forests; bridge-heads and sentinels for Phytophthora introductions
July 2021: A/Prof Jeff Powell
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University
Switching partners - the roles and relationships of dual mycorrhizal systems for eucalypts
August 2021: Dr Kentaro Hosaka
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan
Natural history of blue entolomas, from Japan and the world
September 2021: Dr Yu Pei Tan
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Looking in the cupboard: the hidden diversity of microfungi in Australia.
October 2021: Prof. Levente Kiss
University of Southern Queensland
Mycoparasitic fungi in action
December 2021: AMS Research Grant Awardees
Dr Elaine Davison, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University; Research Associate of the Western Australian Herbarium
Relationships in Amanita, with particular reference to local species
Rebecca Jane Webb, PhD candidate, James Cook University
Glutathione biosynthesis in the amphibian chytrid fungus