Numerous CTHB projects aim to improve our understanding regarding the biology and ecology of the microbes and insects associated with woody hosts indigenous to South Africa.

The tree species receiving most attention are Syzygium cordatum, Syzygium guineense, Acacia karroo, Acacia mellifera, Acacia erioloba, Adansonia digitata, Pterocarpus angolensis, Sclerocarya birrea, Rapanea melanophloeos, Colophospermum mopane, Aloe plictilis and species in the Proteaceae, Rutaceae, Rubiaceae and the genera Virgillia and Terminalia.

The specific microbes that are targeted include species in the Botryosphaeriaceae, Cryphonectriaceae and Uredinales (Ravenelia, Puccinia and Uromyces), as well as the genera Armillaria, Ganoderma, Fusarium, Mycosphaerella, Phellinus, Ceratocystis, Gondwanamyces, Coniothyrium (Colletogloeopsis / Phaeophleospora / Kirramyces), Cylindrocladium, Dothistroma, Pantoea, Ophiostoma, Candidatus Liberibacter africanus and Phytophthora.

The insects currently receiving most attention include bark beetles, bruchid beetles, as well as Coryphodema tristis and a number of species that could possibly be used in biocontrol programmes.

Various CTHB projects also consider the ecology and population biology of specific tree species to evaluate the effect that human practices (e.g. timber harvesting, coppicing, bark stripping, etc.) might have on the target plant, ecosystems and the conservation of natural habitats. Many further focus on the possible impacts that soil properties, nutrients, rhizobial symbioses and climatic factors might have on the invasiveness of certain species in diverse landscapes. A small number of projects also aim to investigate the effects that drought, frost and fire might have on the sustainable usage of indigenous woody resources.

New Publications

Abate BA, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ, Malan AP, Hurley BP. (2018) Diversity of entomopathogenic nematodes and their symbiotic bacteria in South African plantations and indigenous forests. Nematology 10.1163/15685411-00003144
Palmer M, Steenkamp ET, Coetzee MPA, Blom J, Venter SN. (2018) Genome-based characterization of biological processes that differentiate closely related bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology 9:113. 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00113 PDF
Paap T, de Beer ZW, Migliorini D, Nel W, Wingfield MJ. (2018) The polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) and its fungal symbiont Fusarium euwallaceae: a new invasion in South Africa. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-018-0545-0 PDF
Van den Berg N, Christie JB, Engelbrecht J, Aveling TAS. (2018) Callose and β-1,3-glucanase inhibit Phytophthora cinnamomi in a resistant avocado rootstock. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12819
Wilken PM, Steenkamp ET, Van der Nest MA, Wingfield MJ, De Beer ZW, Wingfield BD. (2018) Unexpected placement of the MAT1-1-2 gene in the MAT1-2 idiomorph of Thielaviopsis. Fungal Genetics and Biology 10.1016/j.fgb.2018.01.007