During the last week of November, a team of scientists from FABI under the leadership of Prof. The PSHB was first reported from South Africa early this year after it was discovered infesting trees in KwaZulu-Natal. The beetle carries and inserts a fungus that might eventually kill the tree, depending on the tree species. As the invasive PSHB can be confused easily with other common ambrosia beetles, it might go undetected for some time after it was introduced into a new area or country. The workshop, fully funded by CABI, was attended by 25 people from 14 countries that included Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The attendees have now formed a PSHB African network under the guidance of Dr Arne Witt of CABI, that will monitor and report possible PSHB infestations in Africa.
The Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) celebrated the first publication of a paper in an ISI-rated scientific journal by a postgraduate student from the work of either their PhD or MSc at a party on 26 November.
FABI Director Professor Bernard Slippers has joined Prof Mike Wingfield and Prof Pedro Crous on the list of highly cited researchers in the field of Plant and Animal Sciences for 2018.
The University of Pretoria had a University-wide (staff and students) photographic competition with the topic of "Community Engagement”.
Runlei Chang delivered the last prestige seminar of the year at FABI on 3 December, bringing the number of PhD theses completed at the Institute in 2018 to 13.
During a recent visit to Indonesia, a group of staff members and students of FABI were presented with a painting as a gift to FABI from Mr Rob Pallet, a previous member of the Board of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) and now on the staff of the APRIL Forestry Group.
On Saturday 10 November, Dr Fahimeh Jami (Postdoctoral Fellow), Kira Lynn (M.Sc. student) and Nam Pham (Ph.D. student), returned to South Africa after spending almost two months in Sumatra.
Five biologists from the Universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and the Free State including Prof Mike Wingfield of FABI, recently undertook a broadly-based mycological foray in the natural forests of the southern Cape.
FABI Management is delighted with the appointment of Prof Fanus Venter as the Deputy Director of FABI. The position was created against the backdrop of the size and expansion of the Institute and the fact that Prof Bernard Slippers currently holds the Directorship of both FABI and Future Africa.
The FIMT website serves as a tool for rapid identification of insects associated with forests, in particular Eucalyptus and Pinus species, and is intended to assist researchers and field-based scientists focussing on forest health.
From 11-14 November the Entomological Society of America, the Entomological Society of Canada, and the Entomological Society of British Columbia held a join meeting in Vancouver. The meeting was attended by FABIan Prof Brett Hurley, who is currently on sabbatical in Canada.
Prof André Drenth of the University of Queensland and a close collaborator and advisor on many FABI projects recently joined Prof.
Students and staff at FABI got their hands dirty and spent the morning on 23 November replanting 3,000 cuttings into potting bags at the FABI Nursery on the University of Pretoria’s experimental farm.
FABIans reflected on the gains of the year and looked forward to 2019 and beyond at the annual year-end function and awards ceremony on 17 November.
Vou Shutt successfully defended her PhD thesis on 21 November, marking the final stage of completing her degree by delivering a prestige seminar at FABI. Her presentation was titled “Bacterial pathogens of tomato in South Africa: Identification, population diversity and cultivar susceptibility”.
Dr Osmond Mlonyeni, who earlier this year completed his Ph.D in Genetics and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at FABI has been appointed to the Board of Directors of The Innovation Hub.
On 11-12 October a team from the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) visited the University of Venda (UniVen) in Thohoyandou in the Limpopo Province.
Between 28 and 31 October Prof Fanus Venter was invited to attend a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored workshop on “Microbial Systematics for the Next Decade” held in Hood River, Oregon, USA.
Key drivers of the CTHB’s mentorship and outreach programmes in 2018 speak about their inspiration and experiences
Mentorship at undergraduate and high school level have been the cornerstone of the CTHB’s outreach programmes since its founding 14 years ago. Staff, postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students in the CTHB have mentored more than 200 undergraduate students, introducing them to the basic tenets of laboratory etiquette and postgraduate research.
The popular South African current affairs and investigative journalism programme Carte Blanche featured the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme's (TPCP) in FABI's research work on the Polyphagous Shothole Borer (PSHB) on its weekly programme on 4 November.
On 25-26 October, Prof Bernard Slippers attended the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAF) in Beijing, China.
The Biennial joint SASBi/SAGS (South African Society for Bioinformatics/South African Genetics Society) Conference was held at Golden Gate National Park in the Free State Province from 16-18 October.
Dr Richard Allen White III, a postdoctoral Fellow at Washington State University, visited FABI where he presented a workshop on metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses during the week of 22-26 October.
During the week of 22-26 October, FABI hosted a workshop on metagenomic and metatransciptomic analyses.
FABI postdoctoral Fellow Dr Marc Bouwer along with Dr Gabrielle Carstensen and MSc student Ashleigh Smith conducted a field trip to the Lothair and Barberton regions of the Mpumalanga province during the week of 23-26 October.
The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology (CTHB) celebrated the end of another successful year of mentoring and outreach at its annual lunch on 29 October.
Dr Tanay Bose and Dr Marc Bouwer are both in Sappi funded postdoctoral Fellowships in FABI, and part of the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP).
Professor Robert Park of the Plant Breeding Institute at the University of Sydney shared highlights of almost a century of research on cereal rust pathogens in Australia in his special seminar titled “Approaching 100 years of cereal rust research at the University of Sydney: Lessons learnt and the way ahead” on 8 October.
Professor Randy Ploetz and Dr Michelle Ploetz treated FABIans to two seminars on 15 October. An authority on tropical fruit diseases at the University of Florida, Prof Ploetz discussed the re-emergence of Fusarium wilt of banana, while Dr Ploetz discussed the dynamics in the use of English in academy by second and third language speakers.
Professor Virginia Morales Olmos presented a special seminar at FABI on 10 October, titled “An estimate of the economic impact of Teratosphaeria nubilosa on Eucalyptus globulus plantations in Uruguay”. Reported in Uruguay in 2007, T. Prof Morales Olmos said a study using a cost/benefit analysis model showed economic losses of between one and 20 percent, depending on the location.
To celebrate 10 years since its launch in 2008, students and postdoctoral Fellows of the Avocado Research Programme at FABI presented lectures on their research at the Plant Sciences Auditorium on 9 October.
Dr Elizabeth Dann kicked off discussions on avocado research with a special seminar at FABI on 8 October. Dr Dann is a plant pathologist with the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, a research institute at the University of Queensland in Australia.
During the month of September, a team of FABIans went collecting beetles in the natural forests of Tzaneen. This forms part of the PhD project of Wilma Nel, that aims to gain a better understanding of the ambrosia beetles and their fungal associates infesting eucalyptus and pin oak wood in South Africa.
Prior her PhD oral defence on 28 September, Erika Viljoen presented her prestige seminar at FABI in the presence of colleagues, family and friends. Highly nutritious anddrought resistant, A. Erika completed her study under the supervision of Professor Dave Berger.
The University of Pretoria’s Vice-Principal responsible for Research and Postgraduate Education, Prof. Professor Burton explored how research can support the SDGs. FABI Director, Prof Bernard Slippers welcomed guests and opened the event.
PhD candidate Darryl Herron shares his experiences on a recent field trip to the Cape.