The guest presenter at the March FABI International Seminar on 31 March was Dr Jonas Oliva, a "Ramón y Cajal" researcher in the Department of Crop and Forest Science at the University of Lleida, Spain. His presentation “Functional ecology of forest disease” explains how functional ecology may help understand complex interactive effects between forest pathogens and global warming, globalization, and land-use changes. He argues that traits can be more informative about ecological functions than species inventories and may deliver a more mechanistic description of the process underlying forest disease. By using functional traits instead of species, researchers may be able to reduce the microbial communities to manageable categories with predictive power. Building up functional databases for pathogenicity is key to implementing these approaches. In his seminar, he explained some guidelines and examples on how to develop a functional pathology approach to resolve burning issues on tree disease.