Professor Sarah Gurr
University of Exeter
Host - Professor Alan Gange
“Fungi challenge global food security and plant ecosystem health”
Fungal diseases have been increasing in severity and scale since the mid 20th Century and now pose a serious challenge to global food security and ecosystem health (Gurr et al., 2011, Fungal Biology Reviews 25 181). Indeed, we have demonstrated recently that the threat to plants of fungal infection has now reached a level that outstrips that posed by bacterial and viral diseases combined (Fisher et al., 2012 Nature 484 185).
This presentation will highlight some of the more notable persistent fungal and oomycete plant diseases of our times. It will draw attention to the emergence of new pathotypes affecting crop yields and to fungi and oomycetes decimating our natural and managed landscapes. I shall review some of our recent work looking at the movement of fungi polewards in a warming world (Bebber, Ramatowski and Gurr, 2013 Nature Climate Change 11 985), at the global distributions of crop pests and pathogens (Bebber et al., 2014 New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.1272) and of fungi (Bebber and Gurr 2015, Fungal Genetics and Biology DOI: .org/10.1016/j.fgb.2014.10.012) and at the saturation rate of crops by such organisms (Bebber, Holmes, Gurr, 2014 Global Ecology & Biogeography DOI: 10.111 /geb12214).