December 2019

Sarah De Saeger
Biodiversity Series
Lizel Mostert appointed
FUSE accepted by PUBMED

Keynote speakers Rise of the Fungi

Keynote speaker of ‘Fungi and food security: a rising global issue’ will be Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger. She is head of the Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology and Public Health at Ghent University, Belgium, and coordinator of the international thematic network MYTOX-SOUTH.
It’s on that account she will focus on the huge impact of mycotoxins in developing countries. Yes, there is a growing problem especially because of climate change. On the other hand: ‘Scientists really can have an impact on policy.’ De Saeger speaks from experience: one of her former students is now working at the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development in Zimbabwe.
Mycotoxins affect people in different ways: they can cause acute infections and death, but the toxins can also have a long-lasting impact on human health. Besides that, there are the huge economic aspects.
Main problems in developing countries are low awareness and not enough technical capacity to take precautions. Laws are sometimes in place but not enforced.
De Saeger discusses the problems and the measures that are being taken. One of them is the network MYTOX-SOUTH. ‘It’s all about Human Capacity Building.’


Gianluigi Cardinali will be the keynote speaker for ‘Naming Fungal Taxa: From Linnaeus to Genomes’. Cardinali is Full Professor at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Perugia in Italy (note: this university is of a respectable age; it was founded in 1308).
‘Identification and species delimitation, the magnitude of the problems and possible solutions’ is the title of his talk. Ever since the new DNA techniques, the field is struggling with the consequences of the move from old, and still working, morphological taxonomy, to DNA-based taxonomy. At the same time, approaches such as phylogeny and phenetics are used interchangeably, generating theoretical confusion in the field.
This session of the meeting aims at increasing awareness of the problem that existing species concepts and associated nomenclatural rules are inadequate to deal with the insights that may be gained by the rapid evolution of molecular tools
Cardinali wants to take the discussion a step further by doing an interactive survey. With that, he hopes to start a ‘white book’; a general framework to establish a consensus about species delimitation and sort concepts or at least shed light on the issue.

Biodiversity Series: selected books freely available online

We have decided to make selected books in the Biodiversity Series freely available as downloadable pdf through our website!

Biodiversity Series 1 Biodiversity Series 2 Biodiversity Series 3
Biodiversity Series 5 Biodiversity Series 7 Biodiversity Series 8

New head at Department of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University

Lizel Mostert has been appointed as the head of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University (SU), starting her term in this position in January 2020. She is the first female head of this department. The department together with the university celebrated their hundred years’ of existence in 2018. The department of Plant Pathology has trained many students in mycology by various mycologists such as Paul A. van der Bijl, Peter S. Knox-Davis and Pedro W. Crous. These latter professors all became the head of the department during their respective careers. Lizel obtained her PhD at Wageningen University in 2006, having spent two and half years at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (then known as Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures) in the Evolutionary Phytopathology group of Pedro Crous. After completion of her PhD she returned to South Africa and was appointed as mycologist at the department of Plant Pathology in 2007. In 2011 she obtained a permanent position and in 2018 she was promoted to associate-professor. Her research focus is on trunk/canker diseases of grapevine and deciduous fruit trees, investigating the etiology, epidemiology and management thereof. During the first phase of her career she has provided essential support in pathogen lists and phytosanitary information packages which underpin market access and the export of deciduous fruit. To date she has trained 14 MSc and four PhD students and has 78 publications in international peer-reviewed journals. As new head of department, with historic links to the Westerdijk Institute, as well as the re-appointment of Pedro Crous as extra-ordinary professor at SU, new opportunities beckon for mycology in the Western Cape of South Africa.


Fungal Systematics and Evolution in PubMed soon!

We are very pleased to announce that Fungal Systematics and Evolution (“FUSE”) has passed the Scientific Quality Review by NLM for PMC. This means that FUSE should be available through PubMed soon!

Fungal Systematics and Evolution is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, full colour, fast-track journal. Volumes appear bi-annual – June and December. Papers include reviews, research articles, methodology papers, taxonomic monographs, and the description of fungi.


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