- Fungi ×
September 25, 2018
On 12 September, scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew published a comprehensive report on the state of the world’s fungi highlighting the often overlooked importance of this kingdom. To coincide with this, a two-day international symposium was organised. My knowledge of fungi was minimal (other than an appreciation for Portobello mushrooms) and so I was excited to attend and learn more!
July 4, 2018
This June, Charley McCarthy presented his poster ‘The pangenome of Aspergillus fumigatus’ at the Early Career Microbiologists Summer Conference in Birmingham. Charley is in the third year of his PhD at Maynooth University, supervised by Dr David Fitzpatrick. For those of you that couldn't attend the conference, here, Charley discusses his research.
July 20, 2017
Back in April 2016, we wrote about an emerging disease that’s been killing wild snake populations in North America. Snake fungal disease, or SFD, is an infection that leads to blisters and lesions on snakes’ skin, turning scales yellow and crusty, and making eyes clouded and milky. Last year, scientists identified that the disease is caused by Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that eats the keratin in infected tissue (the same protein found in nails and hair, although O. ophiodiicola only infects snakes).
May 24, 2017
The world of parasites can sometimes be extremely gruesome. Take, for example, the charming female jewel wasp, which uses a cockroach as a living incubator for its larvae. The wasp stings the roach in the brain, and leads the much bigger host by its antennae into a burrow before laying an egg inside its abdomen. The cockroach, being completely under the jewel wasp’s spell, doesn’t protest. Once the egg hatches, the larva consumes the cockroach from the inside out. Lovely.
April 5, 2017
Next time you go walking in a forest during the summer months, take a look up and see if you can spot any branches missing their leaves. It might not seem obvious at first, but you’re looking at a poorly understood, although rather important, ecosystem.
March 29, 2017
Bats in North America are in trouble. Millions of them have died over the past few years, over an area that stretches for thousands of miles, from Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada to Nebraska in the heart of North America. This area is moving steadily west, although isolated cases have already been found in Seattle on the US West Coast.
September 6, 2016
Each month, the Microbiology Society publishes the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM), which details newly discovered species of bacteria, fungi and protists. Here are a few of the new species that have been discovered and the places they’ve been found. The full papers are available to journal subscribers, but the abstracts are free to read.
July 6, 2016
Fungal diseases cause an estimated 1.5 million deaths each year – more than malaria. Despite this, fungi are often overlooked compared to other pathogens like bacteria and viruses.