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MSc student

Department

Microbiology and Plant Pathology
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I'm in the first year of my MSc. My research project is on Diseases and Pests of Cycads in South Africa. Cycads are said to be the oldest living seed bearing plants with a lineage dating back as far as 300 million years ago. Because of their ancient lineage and exotic features, cycads are quite popular in the ornamental industry and rare species tend to be very expensive. Lately there has been reports from SANBI, private collectors and conservation agencies on Encephalartos species dying of unknown causes in South Africa.Unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of research done on diseases and pests of cycads, especially on species of Encephalartos, hence little is known about the casual agents of these die-offs.

My research will focus on diseases and pests of dying cycads in conservation areas and private gardens in South Africa, specifically conservation areas in Limpopo. I will also look at diseases and pests of cycad seeds and seedlings in commercial nurseries in Pretoria, South Africa. 

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Publication
Nesamari R, Coutinho TA, Roux J. (2017) Investigations into Encephalartos insect pests and diseases in South Africa identifies Phytophthora cinnamomi as a pathogen of the Modjadji cycad. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12619
Nesamari R, Millar IM, Coutinho TA, Roux J. (2015) South African cycads at risk: Aulacaspis yasumatsui (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Diaspididae) in South Africa. African Entomology 23(1):198-206.