Virtual Seminars Jul-Dec 2021

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AMS is continuing with our virtual seminars that bring you the latest in mycology research online. You'll be able to learn from experts in medical mycology, biotechnology, environmental microbiology, plant and animal pathology, taxonomy and systematics, and phylogenetics.

 

All seminars are on the last Wednesday of each month at 12:00pm AEDT. Talks are 30 minutes long and are followed by 15 minutes of questions from the audience. See below for the latest schedule of talks.

To attend a seminar, register via the zoom link provided prior to the date. Some seminars will be recorded and available for registered attendees to view.

This regular event will be hosted on Zoom and is free but if you'd like to join AMS, you can sign up here.

Please note, memberships are on a calendar year basis and there are discounts available for students and retirees.

If you are interested in presenting your mycological research, please get in touch with the AMS council.

To see prior presentations in this series click here.

1 Dec 2021 - final talks of the year!

12-1:30 pm Australian Eastern Standard time

 

Presenters: AMS Research Grant Awardees Dr Elaine Davison & Rebecca Jane Webb

AMS aims to promote the understanding of fungi, and a key component of this aim is to support research activities by Australasian mycologists. Applications for the AMS research award are welcomed from all current financial members of the AMS, especially junior members. The project must be carried out within Australasia and the applicant must be associated with an Australasian research organisation.

 

We’re hosting this special event to hear about the research conducted by two of our amazing mycologists, with the help of the AMS Research Grant. 

Dr Elaine Davison, Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University; Research Associate of the Western Australian Herbarium

 

Project title: “ Relationships in Amanita, with particular reference to local species ”

 

Summary: Amanitas are some of the commonest mushrooms in the Australian bush, but the majority are difficult to identify on appearance alone; microanatomy and sequencing are now essential for delimiting species. By using these characters, my colleagues and I have been able to better characterise known species and describe ones new to science. This talk will explain how I got involved; it will discuss where Australian species fit into a recent molecular phylogeny of the genus, and how the AMS award is being used

Rebecca Jane Webb, PhD candidate, James Cook University
 

Project title: “ Glutathione biosynthesis in the amphibian chytrid fungus ”

Summary: Most members of Chytridiomycota are saprobic, but there is one genus, Batrachochytrium, that can infect vertebrates. The amphibian chytrid fungus, B. dendrobatidis infects hundreds of different amphibian species, and this parasitic lifestyle presumably requires adaptations to resist the host immune system. Many other pathogenic fungi use glutathione to protect themselves from host defences, however the role of glutathione in B. dendrobatidis is unknown.  Here we investigate glutathione biosynthesis in B. dendrobatidis to determine if it might be important for pathogenicity. We explore the patterns of expression over the fungi life cycle, and examine the effect of inhibiting glutathione synthesis.

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Elaine busy writing up her work on Amanita

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Rebecca hard at work in the lab

28 July 2021

 

Presenter: A/Prof Jeff Powell

Affiliation: Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University

Title: Switching partners - the roles and relationships of dual mycorrhizal systems for eucalypts

Talk Summary: The vast majority of plants are mycorrhizal, with two of the most dominant types (arbuscular [AM] and ectomycorrhizal [EcM]) existing at opposite ends of multiple spectra. Most plants form symbiosis with only one of these two types but a few groups (including many Eucalyptus spp.) can associate with both, with some observing that the frequency of each type depends on the plant growth stage. This has led to hypotheses that host seedlings, saplings and trees might derive benefit from these partnerships differently and that the occurrence of each type is driven by stage-specific host requirements. In this talk, I share evidence suggesting that the occurrence of AM and EcM fungi in eucalypt woodlands is driven more by the health of the broader ecosystem than by the needs of the host. This has consequences for ecosystem recovery and restoration, as well as for our general understanding of dual mycorrhizal systems.

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25 August 2021

Presenter: Dr Kentaro Hosaka

Affiliation: National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan

Title:  Natural history of blue entolomas, from Japan and the world

Talk Summary: Among various colors of mushrooms, blue is arguably the most striking and mysterious color. The genus Entoloma is known to contain many colorful species, and E. virescens and a few others produce strikingly blue fruit bodies. E. virescens is the earliest blue entolomatoid species described in the genus. The holotype collection was made in 1854 from “the Bonin Islands" in Japan. Since then, dozens of Japanese mycologists have visited the islands, but mysteriously, no additional collections of E. virescens were made for more than 100 years. From 2009, however, my colleagues and I have consistently collected E. virescens from the islands almost every year. I will discuss the potential reasons for this trend, based on literature and specimen data of E. virescens and related blue Entoloma species from the Bonin Islands, mainland of Japan, and other parts of the world. 

29 September 2021

 

Presenter: Dr Yu Pei Tan

Affiliation: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Title: Looking in the cupboard: the hidden diversity of microfungi in Australia.

Talk Summary: Australia’s history of biological collection began when Joseph Banks visited Australia as part of James Cook’s expedition in 1770. Following Banks, Australia’s scientists and natural historians built the foundation of Australia’s collections of algae, fish, insects, plants, mammals, birds, fungi, and microorganisms. The Queensland Plant Pathology Herbarium (BRIP) was established at the Federation of Australia. Its unique collection of Queensland microfungi dates back to 1850s. The specimens in in BRIP include microfungi that cause or are associated with diseases on plants or on insects, and from the environment (e.g. air, soil, phylloplane). Specimens collected in the past were identified based on morphology and/or host association. Using DNA sequence-based methods to examine the specimens kept in the “cupboard” of BRIP has uncovered a hidden diversity of undescribed species. The discovery of cryptic species and species complexes has implications for Australia’s biodiversity and biosecurity

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27 October 2021

Presenter: Prof. Levente Kiss

Affiliation: University of Southern Queensland

Title: Mycoparasitic fungi in action

Talk Summary: Fungi that parasitize other fungi, known as mycoparasites, are commonly found in most terrestrial ecosystems. The best known mycoparasites are those that attack plant pathogenic fungi. Some of these have long been studied and commercially utilized as biocontrol agents of crop pathogens. Others have been in focus as components of natural multitrophic relationships. In Australia, mycoparasitic fungi are largely understudied. This lecture will provide a general introduction to interfungal parasitic relationships, followed by a more detailed presentation of a common group of mycoparasites, which have already been commercialized in the European Union, USA, and elsewhere as biofungicide products used in crop protection. These mycoparasites have long been investigated by our group using GFP-transformants, gene knock-out studies, and phylogenetics, population genetics, and genomics tools. Currently, and ARC Discovery Project led by our laboratory, and carried out in collaboration with University of Melbourne and University of Zurich (Switzerland), is focusing on as yet unknown aspects of this particular mycoparasitic interaction, to reveal brand new ways of controlling an important group of crop pathogens.