A scientific detective story

Our latest paper required a deep dive into the history of plant pathology Today my colleagues and I are pleased to present our new paper on the Geometry and Evolution of the Ecological Niche in Plant-Associated Microbes in Nature Communications. The paper describes the temperature responses and host ranges of hundreds of fungi and oomycetes … Continue reading A scientific detective story

Food Price Shocks and the Coronavirus Crisis

Why haven't we seen a spike in food prices during the coronavirus crisis? Global food prices are determined by supply, demand, and to a large extent, the perception that supply or demand might change in the near future. The most dramatic food price shock in recent years occurred in 2007 - 2008, when the UN … Continue reading Food Price Shocks and the Coronavirus Crisis

Brazilian Protected Area Network Largely Unaffected By Recent Amazon Fires

August 2019 saw dramatic increases in wildfires in the Brazilian Amazon, leading to arguments between Brazil and G7 leaders and widespread concern among conservationists. Popular media reports suggested that ‘swathes of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil are on fire’. Here we investigate the spatial distribution of fires through August 2019, showing that fires were largely restricted to deforested regions and areas with low canopy cover, particularly in unprotected areas. In contrast, Brazil’s protected areas had one third as many fires, and forest in protected areas with high canopy cover was almost entirely unaffected by fire. Protected areas reduce deforestation and carbon emissions, and have proved largely untouched by recent fires.

Revealing the hidden threat from crop pests

Five years ago I gave at talk at the International Mycological Congress, IMC10, in Bangkok, on the distributions of crop pests and pathogens around the world. One aspect which hadn’t received much attention was the problem of pseudo-absences in the pest distribution data we use, obtained from the CABI Knowledge Bank. CABI’s pest distribution data … Continue reading Revealing the hidden threat from crop pests

PhD on Fusarium Wilt of Banana

Preparing for Fusarium Wilt of Banana in Latin America and the Caribbean We have a PhD position available on the SWBIO Doctoral Training Programme, on the threats facing banana production from Fusarium Wilt, a.k.a. Panama Disease. You can apply here: https://www.swbio.ac.uk/programme/how-to-apply/ Main supervisor: Dr Daniel Bebber (University of Exeter) Second supervisors: Prof Sarah Gurr (University … Continue reading PhD on Fusarium Wilt of Banana