Mr Felipe Balocchi
I am currently a PhD (Plant Pathology) student, at FABI, studying a novel canker disease of Araucaria araucana that had an important outbreak in Chile during 2015-2016. Previously, I completed my undergraduate carrer (Plant biotechnology engineering), and a MSc (Forestry sciences) in Chile at the University of Concepción. Both degrees were completed while working at the Forest Pathology Lab in the topic of biological control of weeds by using fungal pathogens (also referred as bioherbicides). After finishing my studies I worked for three years, at the same laboratory in a project focused in the diagnosis of known and new diseases of cultivated and native trees in Chile. During this period, the decline of Araucaria trees (Araucaria araucana), one of the symbolic native species in Chile (which is endemic to the mountain ranges in Chile and Argentina) was discovered. A canker disease, for which there was not any previous reports, was associated to this syndrome in the main areas of its natural distribution. The main focus of my investigation is to describe this canker disease affecting Araucaria trees, the causal agents, and other associated factors.