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During the past week, Prof. David Sillam-Dussès from France visited FABI to do some field work as part of a collaborative research project. The project was initiated last year between the University of Pretoria, the Laboratoire d'Ethologie Expérimentale et Comparée (University of Paris) and the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IEES) in Paris. Collaborators on the project are Profs Sillam-Dussès, Wilhelm de Beer, and Mireille Vasseur-Cognet.

The focus of this particular project is to determine the basis of the extended longevity of fungus-growing termite queens and kings. It has been suggested that these insects are among the longest living insects on earth, with estimated life spans of up to 50 years, with some sources claiming that the queens can even become 80 years old. During the past week more termites and their culitivated fungus were collected for the project. The project forms part of a greater collaboration between the University of Pretoria, and several reserach groups in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, the USA and France.

Photos: Profs Sillma-Dusses and De Beer, together with Alec Mtuyedwa, collecting termites and their fungal symbionts. (Credits: W. de Beer)

New Publications

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Human ZR, Crous CJ, Roets F, Venter SN, Wingfield MJ, de Beer ZW. (2017) Biodiversity and ecology of flower-associated actinomycetes in different flowering stages of Protea repens. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 10.1007/s10482-017-0942-3
McTaggart AR, Beasley DR, Wingfield MJ, Wood AR, Pretorius ZA, Drenth A, Shivas RG, Roux J. (2017) A dynamic, web-based resource to identify rust fungi (Pucciniales) in southern Africa. MycoKeys 26:77-83. 10.3897/mycokeys.26.14602
De Maayer P, Aliyu H, Vikram S, Blom J, Duffy B, Cowan DA, Smits THM, Venter SN, Coutinho TA. (2017) Phylogenomic, pan-genomic, pathogenomic and evolutionary genomic insights into the agronomically relevant enterobacteria Pantoea ananatis and Pantoea stewartii. Frontiers in Microbiology 8(1755) 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01755
Jami F, Wingfield MJ, Gryzenhout M, Slippers B. (2017) Diversity of tree-infecting Botryosphaeriales on native and non-native trees in South Africa and Namibia. Australasian Plant Pathology 10.1007/s13313-017-0516-x
Stewart JE, Ross-Davis AL, Graҫa RN, Alfenas AC, Peever TL, Hanna JW, Uchida JY, Hauff RD, Kadooka CY, Kim MS, Cannon PG, Namba S, Simeto S, Pérez CA, Rayamajhi MB, Lodge DJ, Arguedas M, Medel-Ortiz R, López-Ramirez MA, Tennant P, Glen M, Machado PS, McTaggart AR, Carnegie AJ, Klopfenstein NB, Cleary M. (2017) Genetic diversity of the myrtle rust pathogen (Austropuccinia psidii) in the Americas and Hawaii: Global implications for invasive threat assessments. Forest Pathology 10.1111/efp.12378