9th International Mycological Congress - Meeting Report
Funding from FERA and the GCRI trust allowed me to attend the 9th International Mycological Congress. This was hosted by the International Mycological Association in Edinburgh from the 1st-6th August. The conference was attended by over 1700 mycologists from 83 countries. More than 300 talks and 1000 posters were presented over the week. On each day a plenary lecture was given, followed by five lecture sessions (each consisting of 14 individual talks) which ran parallel to one another. Allocated time and opportunity was available to view/present posters and attend meetings discussing fungal nomenclature.
During the week I was able to attend each of the 7 plenary lectures and attended approximately 70 additional lectures. I had the opportunity to attend each of the poster sessions, and a fungal nomenclature discussion. On one of the evenings I was invited to a reception hosted by the BMS and BSPP at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Of the Seven plenary lectures I attended three were particularly relevant. Joseph Heitman from Duke University gave a talk titled “Microbial pathogens in the fungal kingdom”. David Hibbert from Clark University gave a talk titled “Knowing and growing the fungal tree of life”, which focussed around current knowledge of fungal systematic. Nancy Keller from the University of Wisconsin presented a talk titled “Unlocking the fungal treasure box” which focussed on secondary metabolite pathways, which may be associated with toxin production.
The lecture sessions of particular use to our work included sessions titled “Cryptic species and speciation”, “Ascomycete systematics”, “Ecology of invasive and threatened species”, “Fungal barcoding” and “Emerging fungal diseases and potential pandemics”. Within sessions delegates were allowed to move freely between lecture theatres. I was able to take advantage of this and attend all of the talks relevant to my topic within and outside of the sessions titled above.
Poster sessions were held over a lunch period and allowed me to meet and develop links with other students studying Alternaria pathogens in Russia and Germany. More importantly through attending I was able to make contact with a number of distinguished Alternaria scientists South Africa, Denmark and the USA.
Extended discussions with US contacts at and after the conference has helped us develop links with the US Department of Agriculture. At the USDA there are projects very similar to my own, involving food security on pome fruits. Future collaborations may occur through this link and with other contacts mentioned above. These outcomes could only have been achieved with support from Warwick HRI and my research group and financial support from FERA and the GCRI.