Ms Ariska van der Nest

PhD student


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
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Primary Supervisor
Irene Barnes

Co Supervisor
Mike Wingfield

My PhD project focuses on the diversity and invasion biology of two important pine needle pathogen genera, Dothistroma and Lecanosticta.  

Lecanosticta acicola is the causal agent of brown spot needle blight of pines.  This disease affects pine seedlings as well as young trees and causes premature defoliation that leads to stunted growth and in severe cases mortality of the trees.  It is currently listed as an A2 quarantine pathogen in several European countries and evidence suggests that the pathogen was introduced from North America into Europe on two different occasions.  As the origin of this species is still unknown and previous studies suggests that Central America could be the origin, one aspect of my project focuses on investigating the diversity of Lecanosticta in this region further.

Dothistroma needle blight is caused by two morphologically indistinguishable species, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum.  D. septosporum has a worldwide occurrence while D. pini has only been recorded in the Northern hemisphere. Although population studies have been done to understand the movement of the pathogens (especially D. septosporum), little is known about the co-occurrence of these species and the movement between native and non-native Pinus species. This aspect will also be further investigated in this study. 



van der Nest, A., Wingfield, M.J., Sadiković, D., Mullett, M., Queloz, V., Adamčíková, K., Davydenko K., Barnes, I. 2020. Population structure and diversity of Dothistroma pini in Europe suggests human mediated movement of the needle blight pathogen. MSA 2020 'Mycology from the Clouds' virtual meeting. Graphical abstract.

van der Nest, A., Wingfield, M.J., Barnes, I.  2018. The rising threat of novel pine needle pathogens from Central America under expanding global cultivation. 44th Conference of the South African Association of Botanists, 9-12 January 2018, Pretoria, South Africa. p91.

Barnes, I., van der Nest, A., Ortiz, P., Wingfield, M. 2017. New cryptic species and a putative center of diversity for the pine pathogens Dothistroma and Lecanosticta. IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress, 18-22 September 2017, Freiburg, Germany. p221.

van der Nest, A., Wingfield, M.J., Barnes, I. 2017. Diversity of Lecanosticta species in Central America suggests a centre of diversity for an important group of pine needle pathogens.  50th Anniversary Congress of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology, 15-18 January 2017, Champagne Sports Resort, Drakensberg. Poster 26.

van der Nest, A., Wingfield, M.J., Barnes, I.  2016.  The phylogenetic diversity of Lecanosticta in Central America suggests a centre of diversity for this genus.  4th Joint congress of the SA Society for Bioinformatics and the SA Genetics Society, 20-23 September 2016, Durban, South Africa. p35  

van der Nest, A., E.T. Steenkamp & G.J. Marais. 2009. Phylogenetic relatedness of Phoma sorghina as a mycotoxigenic fungus in South Africa. International Society for Mycotoxicology conference, 9-11 September 2009, Tullin, Austria.

van der Nest, A., Steenkamp, E.T., Marais, G.J.  2009.  Phylogenetic definition of Phoma sorghina based on the ITS, EF-1α and β-tubulin gene regions.  46th Congress of the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology and 6th Congress of the African Mycological Association (AMA), 25 – 28 January 2009, Villa Via Hotel, Gordon’s Bay, South Africa.  p110. 

van der Nest, A., Steenkamp, E.T., Marais, G.J.  2008.  Phylogenetic diversity of Phoma sorghina in Southern Africa.  Biennial Conference of the South African Society for Microbiology (Bio-08), Rhodes University, 21-25 January 2008. p 40.

van der Nest, A., Steenkamp, E.T., Marais, G.J.  2008.  Phylogenetic variation within Phoma sorghina sensu lato.  20th Biennial congress of the South African Genetics Society, h Biennial congress of the South African Genetics Society, Sanlam Auditorium, University of Pretoria, 27 – 29 March 2008.  p 81.

van der Nest, A., Steenkamp, E.T., Marais, G.J. 2007.  Phoma sorghina: a review on the complexity of its taxonomy and ecological distribution.  Abstracts of the 45th Congress of the South African Society for Plant Pathology, Kopanong, 21 – 24 January 2007.  p53.

van der Nest, A., Marais, G.J., Lübben, A. 2006.  The role of mycotoxigenic fungi in commercially produced animal feed.  Abstracts of the 14th Biennial Conference of the South African Society for Microbiology, CSIR International Convention Centre, 9-12 April 2006. p130.

van der Nest, A., Marais, G.J., Lübben, A. 2006.  Fungi and their mycotoxins associated with animal feed in South Africa.  Abstracts of the 44th Congress of the South African Society for Plant Pathology, Magalies Park Country Club, 22-25 January 2006. p74.





Ariska makes it ten

Congratulations to Ariska van der Nest on becoming the tenth FABIan to complete their PhD in 2021.

FABI mycologists participate in the annual MSA meeting: Mycology in the cloud

FABI students and their co-authors contributed 37 posters/graphical abstracts of the 157 of these presentations at the MSA conference.

FABI Celebrates first publications by students

FABI celebrated the first publication of a paper in an ISI-rated scientific journal by four students in the TPCP and CTHB research groups at a publication party on 27 June.

FABIans get a sneak peek of some of South Africa's brightest young scientists

Every year, hundreds of Grade 7s and 12s, descend on the University of Pretoria's L.C. de Villiers sports grounds to take part in the Northern Gauteng Science Fair where they transform the Rembrandt Hall into a science wonderland.

Export to RIS
Adamčíková K, Jánošíková Z, van der Nest A, Adamčík S, Ondrušková E, Barnes I. (2021) Population structure and genetic diversity suggest recent introductions of Dothistroma pini in Slovakia. Plant Pathology 70(8):1883-1896. 10.1111/ppa.13428
Aglietti C, Meinecke CD, Ghelardini L, Barnes I, van der Nest A, Villari C. (2021) Rapid detection of pine pathogens Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum on needles by probe-based LAMP assays. Forests 12(4):479. 10.3390/f12040479
Mesanza N, Raposo R, Elvira‐Recuenco M, Barnes I, van der Nest A, Hernández M, Pascual MT, Barrena I, Martín US, Cantero A, Hernandez‐Escribano L, Iturritxa E. (2021) New hosts for Lecanosticta acicola and Dothistroma septosporum in newly established arboreta in Spain. Forest Pathology 51:e12650 10.1111/efp.12650
van der Nest A, Wingfield MJ, Janoušek J, Barnes I. (2019) Lecanosticta acicola: A growing threat to expanding global pine forests and plantations. Molecular Plant Pathology 20:1325-1474. 10.1111/mpp.12853 PDF
van der Nest A, Wingfield MJ, Ortiz PC, Barnes I. (2019) Biodiversity of Lecanosticta pine-needle blight pathogens suggests a Mesoamerican Centre of origin. IMA Fungus 1:2 10.1186/s43008-019-0004-8 PDF
Bradshaw RE, Sim AD, Chettri P, Dupont P-Y, Guo Y, Hunziker L, McDougal RL, van der Nest A, Fourie A, Wheeler D, Cox MP, Barnes I. (2019) Global population genomics of the forest pathogen Dothistroma septosporum reveal chromosome duplications in high dothistromin-producing strains. Molecular Plant Pathology 20(6):784-799. 10.1111/mpp.12791
Barnes I, van der Nest A, Mullett MS, Crous PW, Drenkhan R, Musolin DL, Wingfield MJ. (2016) Neotypification of Dothistroma septosporum and epitypification of D. pini, causal agents of Dothistroma needle blight of pine. Forest Pathology 46(5):388-407. 10.1111/efp.12304 PDF