Welcome to Forest Pathology Lab!

Green leaf. Photo.Our lab at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp, Sweden, studies the biology, ecology and epidemiology of endemic and exotic
invasive forest pathogens.
Our work focuses on aspects of disease control and the interactions of trees with fungi and fungal-like (oomycete) organisms, including host symbioses and tree defense mechanisms. We conduct molecular diagnostics and conduct host-chemical analyses to better understand the infection and resistance biology of trees. We work with a variety of damaging agents affecting these major tree genera: spruce, pine, oak, ash, birch, aspen and elm.
Our research has a strong stakeholder focus for managing forest diseases in order to ensure multiple ecosystem benefits from forests and protect biodiversity associated with threatened tree species.SLU. Logotype.

 

 

Today, we celebrate a 4 million SEK win for new research on Lecanosticta acicola in Sweden, led by Iryna Matsiakh and Michelle Cleary. The 4-year project is funded by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS.TODAY, THE SWEDISH RESEARCH COUNCIL FORMAS AWARDS 4 MILLION SEK TO ADDRESS A NEW THREAT TO SCOTS PINE! In early 2019, it was reported the discovery of a new pathogen (Lecanosticta acicola) on pine in southern Sweden. Since then, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of inquiries from concerned forest owners and the public reporting similar-type damage to pine and requesting advice on what they can do. Today’s decision from the Swedish Research Council FORMAS awards 4 million SEK to Dr. Iryna Matsiakh and Dr. Michelle Cleary in the Forest Pathology group to conduct widespread surveys and diagnostics that are urgently needed to determine the extent of damage and just how large of a threat Lecanosticta acicola poses to pine. They will also research possible distribution pathways for the pathogen and determine immediate actions that can be taken to mitigate damage. 👏 ... See MoreSee Less
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There have been increasing reports of the fungal pathogen Lecanosticta acicola, which causes brown spot needle blight (BSNB) on Pinus species, across many parts of Europe and North America during the last 10 years. The disease was discovered for the first time in Sweden a few years ago and since then there have been questions about just how widespread the disease is presently, and what risk it poses to Scots pine – one of Sweden’s most economically important tree species. A new grant to Dr. Michelle Cleary in our group provides financing for hiring a Post-doc to look into these questions further. ... See MoreSee Less
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Our lab member and PhD student Ida Nordström has had a close cooperation with the Forest Pathology lab in Palencia, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain over the last year. The shared project is aimed to develop detection methods that distinguish Pine Pitch Canker (PPC)-effected pine seedlings from healthy ones based solely on VOCs. Publication of the findings is underway. twitter.com/forestpatuva/status/1454022816161009666?s=20www.slu.se/globalassets/ew/org/inst/ssv/nyheter/nyhetsbrev_ida_201105.pdf ... See MoreSee Less
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The newest member of our lab is forest entomologist Dr. Donnie Peterson from USA who won a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Individual Fellowship. During the last decade , Donnie has been working with Emerald ash border (EAB) - one of the most devastating insect invaders in eastern North American forests which has caused widespread mortality of several ash species, some of which are now on the brink of extinction. Currently, EAB is invading eastern Europe as a result of a separate introduction to western Russia some years ago that has been slowly expanding westwards. In Donnie’s MSCA project “EMERALD” - Preparing for invasion: novel techniques for early detection of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and discovering resistance traits in host plants, he will conduct several studies focused on EAB and its effect on different species of ash (Fraxinus spp.) in Europe: host volatiles influence on the insect’s behaviour and host preference, interspecific differences in host defenses to attack by EAB, confounding effect of the ash dieback pathogen and EAB, novel early detection tools for EAB including new lure traps and molecular assays based on environmental DNA (eDNA) protocols of samples filtered from stem flow and canopy foliage, and portable DNA analysis tools for on-site detection of EAB. The research will contribute towards better management of the expanding EAB invasion in eastern Europe which will inevitably – if no actions taken – arrive to Sweden where we together with Skogforsk have been already working for many years towards building up a more resistant population of ash against the ash dieback pathogen. ... See MoreSee Less
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