A fungal fiesta: Pine needle pathogen isolation jamboree
From 18 to 20 September, members of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) team gathered for a workshop to isolate putative pathogenic fungi from pine needles. The workshop aims were not only to isolate species of Lecanosticta and Dothistroma from pine needles but also to train students in the specific method used to isolate these fungi. Students learnt how to differentiate between different foliar pathogens, including the main target species but also those of Diplodia and Lophodermium. They also learnt how to revive dried needles before practicing their fine motor skills during the isolation process. The jamboree, that yielded large numbers of fungal isolates important to future tree health studies, was led by Anja Piso who will utilise some of the cultures in her MSc project. The jamboree provided an important opportunity for students to engage with each other and learn more about the isolation methods beyond those relevant to their own research projects. A very special thanks is extended to all the participants including Kira Lynn, Monique Muller, Lina del Mar Angel, and Taygen Fuchs who made the jamboree both a valuable and enjoyable experience.