During this time of uncertainty, a big topic of conversation is the ‘C’ word – yes Covid-19. But even at this time of social distancing, FABIans are banding together over another ‘C’ - to Celebrate.  Although we are all physically confined to our respective homes, our capacity to reach out and socially connect remains alive and well. Thanks to the technology available to us, we were able to provide Kira Lynn with a cheers and congratulations via our internet platforms. This is for obtaining her Masters degree cum laude. Her dissertation entitled, “Fusarium spp. associated with ambrosia beetles on Acacia crassicarpa in Indonesia”, described seven new Fusarium spp. associated with two Euwallacea ambrosia beetles. This emerged from one of the projects that is part of the association with the FABI-RGE Tree Health Programme (THP), financially supported by the global forestry company, Royal Golden Eagle (RGE).

Kira’s project was supervised by Prof. Irene Barnes, Prof. Mike Wingfield, Prof. Wilhelm de Beer and Dr Alvaro Durán (RGE Director of Forest Research) and she has already published one research paper (in Antonie van Leeuwenhoek) from this ground-breaking work. There are two additional papers that are about to be submitted for publication. This project is the first to be completed under the FABI-RGE THP collaboration and provides RGE (and the global forestry industry) with valuable knowledge pertaining to a major insect pest. The research team now looks forward to the growth of this collaboration with RGE, as Kira will be continuing with her PhD, focusing on another major fungal tree pathogen and another ‘C’ word – Ceratocystis and its global impact on Eucalyptus plantations.