- ABLT3 (Arts Building Lecture Theatre 3)
- 25/11/2015 (16:00-17:00)
Host - Professor Mark Brown
Professor Matthew Fisher
Emerging fungal threats to animals and ecosystems
The last two decades have witnessed an increasing number of virulent emerging pathogenic fungi in human and natural populations, with fungi causing with the first ever documented species extinction events attributed to the emergence of infection in nature. I show that fungal life-history characteristics, namely high virulence, environmental persistence, host-generality and flexible genome architecture, predispose this kingdom to emergence as terminal pathogens in natural populations. Anthropogenic activity is a key factor in forcing spatial and temporal increases in fungal infection rates by increasing long-distance dispersal and creating novel selection arenas. I demonstrate these concepts using global phylogenomic data from several emerging fungal pathogen systems and argue that ongoing 'fungal pollution' will increasingly cause the attrition of biodiversity, human health and nutrition unless steps are taken to tighten global biosecurity for this class of emerging pathogens.