School of Biological Sciences Seminar Series

Introduced coniferous forests in Ireland – the fungal aspect

Speaker

Dr Richard O'Hanlon

Institute

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Northern Ireland, UK

Time & Place

Tue, 19 Mar 2019 12:00:00 NZDT in Rehua 529

All are welcome

Abstract

The island of Ireland (98,000 Kmˆ2) is a largely deforested island. Forest cover stands at 11% and 8% of Ireland and Northern Ireland, respectively. Of this, the majority is of non-native introduced coniferous species, especially Sitka spruce, Norway spruce, Japanese larch. The interaction between fungi (and fungus-like organisms), and these tree species has been investigated in recent years from an ecological and plant health focus. Between 2007 and 2012, native and non-native forests were examined for their above-ground macrofungal, and below ground ectomycorrhizal fungal communities. There were no difference in fungal species richness between the native and non-native trees, but differences in communities were recorded. It was found that the non-native Sitka spruce was capable of accepting a wide range of ECM fungi, possibly linked to its place as a late seral stage tree species in its native range. In recent years, the negative effects of fungi on these non-native (and commercially important) trees have been examined. Recent detections of Dothistroma needle blight, Neonectria fuckeliana, Gremmeniella abietina, and the fungus-like Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae have led to increased concern over the health of these trees. The presentation will also detail some of the on-going research and testing for these fungal pathogens in Northern Ireland.

Introduced by Ian Dickie