Colorado potato beetle. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Plant pests and pathogens under the crosshair in Penryn

The British Ecological Society brings together experts from around the world this July to discuss the challenges plant pests and pathogens pose to global food security and ecosystem resilience.

The British Ecological Society has been promoting ecology through science, education and policy since its inception over 100 years ago, in 1913. This year, it is Exeter’s Penryn campus in Cornwall which will host the societies’ two day meeting of minds on the 13th and 14th of July, 2015. The subject? How climate and our changing land use may help plant pests and diseases spread, and the global challenge this presents. Threats to plants from pests don’t traditionally hit the headlines, but since several high profile cases such as the intensive reporting on “ash dieback” in 2012, public dialogue on this important threat to plants in a warming climate is gaining traction.

The series of talks across two days will see experts sharing the latest research in topics ranging from genetics and cell biology, to evolution and forestry. Co-ordinator Dr Dan Bebber aims for the symposium to “bring together experts across disciplines to share knowledge on how these threats are emerging and how we can best respond”.

The symposium is co-ordinated by a team from the University of Exeter and its Penryn campus. Biosciences’ Professor Nick Talbot will be presenting a key note talk on the biology of infection from the rice blast fungus which affects millions annually, whilst Professor Sarah Gurr will be starting the talks with an overview of the past and present impacts of pests and pathogens. The universities role in hosting the symposium reflects the excellent ongoing contribution research teams from biosciences are making to the field, as part of world class research networks such as the Food Security and Land Research Alliance.

For further information on the symposium itself, including the listed speakers, or the University of Exeter’s role in the Food Security and Land Research Alliance please follow the links to their respective websites:

Date: 22 April 2015

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