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Fungi Symposium

Author:  Arboricultural Association
  18/02/2021
Last Updated:  18/02/2021
Fungi Symposium – 31 March 2021

Online 31 March

Book morning and afternoon tickets:

Book Here

Ticket includes 6 months exclusive access to recordings.

Register for the FREE evening webinar:

Register Here

Celebrating trees and fungi

10 presentations from 11 international experts

John Parker, Technical Director

One of the topics that is always of most interest to the arboricultural community is fungi, and especially the relationship between fungi and trees.

2021 sees the publication of two new books from the Arboricultural Association, books which will surely prove to be two of the definitive texts on the subject for years to come. David Humphries and Christopher Wright have created the informative and beautiful Fungi on Trees: A Photographic Guide, covering 100 species of perennial and annual fungi, illustrated by 900 colour photographs. And Professor Lynne Boddy has written Fungi and Trees: Their Complex Relationships, an incredible work which takes its readers on a journey through every aspect of the interaction between fungi and trees over 10 illuminating chapters.

The Fungi Symposium on 31 March is a celebration of, and introduction to, these new books. Organised by the Arboricultural Association and Lynne Boddy, this one-day online event will feature a selection of international experts who have each been invited to deliver a presentation about one of the chapters of Fungi and Trees: Their Complex Relationships. Ten presentations from 11 speakers will include an opening talk from David Humphries and Christopher Wright about fungal fruit bodies, using their own book as a guide.

On the pages that follow, you can find some detailed information about the programme, the speakers and the topics about which they will be presenting. Audience members will have the opportunity to participate in the event through the Q&A function and by engaging with the speakers and their fellow delegates using the chat function.

There will be three sessions in the Fungi Symposium – morning (09:00–12:00), afternoon (13:00–15:00) and evening (18:00–20:00). The evening session will be a typical Wednesday Webinar, free for anyone to attend who would like to do so. Tickets for covering both morning and afternoon sessions are £25 for AA members and £50 for non-members.

Everyone who purchases a ticket to the event will have exclusive access to the recorded presentations for a six-month period, after which the recordings will become a member-only benefit. And as if you needed any further incentive, all ticket holders will be entered into a prize draw, to be made during the evening session, and the lucky winner will be sent a signed copy of both fungi books. This represents great value for what will be an amazing and unique live experience over eight hours of CPD.

Lynne Boddy

I am sure that everyone reading this would agree that trees are wonderful, inspiring delight, enhancing our lives, improving our environment. They power many of the ecosystems of our planet, form habitat for many organisms, remove atmospheric pollutants and prevent soil pollutants from reaching watercourses, reduce soil erosion, cool streets and cities, and have huge advantageous psychological effects, to name but a few of their benefits. Of course, they do not, indeed cannot, do this alone.

Every tree on the planet partners with fungi, most obviously as mycorrhizal associations with their roots, but also cryptically with endophytes (which literally means within a plant) in their leaves, stems and roots. Trees are also indirectly dependent on fungi, as the main decomposers and recyclers of dead plant tissues – especially those that contain lignin – ultimately making nutrients available again for continued plant growth. On the other hand, some fungi are pathogens of trees.

Writing Fungi and Trees: Their Complex Relationships was a huge pleasure, and I hope that people find it an enjoyable and illuminating read. I obviously couldn’t always go into the detail that I would have liked, and so I thought that a symposium which highlights specific novel aspects, whilst placing these in a more general context, would be exciting. The packed programme brings together experts from the USA, Fennoscandia and more locally. I am very much looking forward to hearing these many and varied contributions, and to listening to the dynamic discussions that these events always yield.

Programme

Session 1 – Morning

Time Topic Speaker(s)
09:00–09:10 Welcome and introduction John Parker and Lynne Boddy
09:10–09:35 Chapter 1: The fruiting bodies of labour David Humphries and Christopher Wright
09:35–10:00 Chapter 2: Trees – A long-lived, moveable feast Jill Butler
10:00–10:10 Break
10:10–10:35 Chapter 3: Forest microbiome and associated fungal endophytes: Functional roles and impact on tree health Fred Asiegbu
10:35–11:00 Chapter 4: Ash dieback: What we know now Matt Combes
11:00–12:00 Q&A and discussion All

Session 2 – Afternoon

Time Topic Speaker(s)
13:00–13:10 Welcome and introduction John Parker and Lynne Boddy
13:10–13:35 Chapter 5: Interactions between arthropods and polypore fruiting bodies Lisa Fagerli Lunde
13:35–14:00 Chapter 6: Fungus wars and fungal community development Lynne Boddy
14:00–14:10 Break
14:10–14:35 Chapter 7: Heart-rot and hollowing of oak Rich Wright
14:35–15:00 Chapter 8: Sapwood decay in living trees Dan Eastwood
15:00–16:00 Q&A and discussion All

Session 3 – Evening

Time Topic Speaker(s)
18:00–18:10 Welcome and introduction John Parker and Lynne Boddy
18:10–18:40 Chapter 9: The problem of invasive mycorrhizal fungi Anne Pringle
18:40–19:10 Chapter 10: Management for conservation of threatened wood decay fungi Jenni Nordén
19:10–20:00 Q&A and discussion All
David Humphries

David Humphries
(City of London, UK)

Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright
(Tim Moya Associates, UK)

Session One: 09:10–09:35

The fruiting bodies of labour

This presentation, from the authors of new AA publication Fungi on Trees: A Photographic Reference, will reflect on what the fruit body of a fungus is, including its purpose (or role) in terms of fungal ecology and what this means for arboriculturists who are assessing its condition.

Biographies:

David Humphries

David has worked on and around the trees at Hampstead Heath in north London working for the GLC & City of London Corporation for over 35 years. He was a contributing photographer to the original AA Fungi on Trees and managed the Arbtalk Fungi Directory & App

Christopher Wright

Chris is an arboricultural consultant dealing primarily with trees in the development context, after spending 3 years in the public sector working as a tree officer. His knowledge of fungi is self-taught, formed from a combination of field study (including discussion) and the available literature.

Jill Butler

Jill Butler
(UK)

Session One: 09:35–10:00

Trees – A long-lived, moveable feast

Trees are a source of food for many associated species, but when they reach maturity a new resource, heartwood, increasingly becomes available. This habitat is of international value for wildlife and protecting it and providing a continuity of habitat into the future are major priorities for the UK.

Biography:

For at least two decades, I have had a specialist interest in ancient and other veteran trees and ancient Forests, wood pastures and parkland. This interest has led me into understanding the history and structure of past landscapes through the ancient trees and in learning about the important ecological aspects of managing open grazed Forests with large herbivores. We still have a lot to learn about how to generate open-grown, ancient, light-demanding trees and shrubs of the future. I have followed in Frans Vera’s footsteps across Europe to look at the sites he researched for his landmark book “Forest history and grazing ecology” including 4 visits to Bialowieza National Park in Poland. I have also followed in Ted Green’s fungi and ancient tree footsteps to explore the unique tree biodiversity and heritage associated with every species of ancient tree. Together we were involved in the early stages of the Knepp wildland project in West Sussex with Charlie and Issy Burrell and continue to support the project through regular Tree Safaris. I am a qualified VetCert Consultant through the Arboricultural Association. I am a keen surveyor and verifier for the Ancient Tree Inventory, a citizen science project hosted by the Woodland Trust and run in partnership with the Tree Register of the British Isles and the Ancient Tree Forum. I am a Trustee of the Tree Register of the British Isles.

Fred Asiegbu

Fred Asiegbu
(University of Helsinki, Finland)

Session One: 10:10–10:35

Forest microbiome and associated fungal endophytes: Functional roles and impact on tree health

Despite significant progress in our understanding of the microbiome, very little is known about the beneficial effects of endophytes on trees, including protecting them against pathogens and promoting plant growth. Endophytes could provide several opportunities for application in integrated pest management (IPM) to gain sustainable forestry practices.

Biography:

Dr. Fred O. Asiegbu is a Professor of Forest Pathology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The main focus of his research has been the application of biotechnology knowledge and tools for the determination of ecological, molecular and biochemical pathways required by emerging fungal and forest pathogens to infect and cause disease to trees worldwide. In addition, understanding the basal mechanisms on how forest trees resist infection is also a primary research goal. His research interest is diverse and includes among others; Molecular Tree-Microbe Interaction, Microbiome, Fungal genomics, Infection biology of phytopathogenic fungi and Resistance biology of forest trees. Prof. Asiegbu has published over 120 peer reviewed articles in diverse research fields of forest microbiome and tree - pathogen interactions. He is an elected member of Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

Matt Combes

Matt Combes
(Forest Research & Cardiff University, UK)

Session One: 10:35–11:00

Ash dieback: What we know now

Ash dieback was first noticed in Poland in the early 1990s, and its detection in the UK in 2012 caused widespread concern. This talk will discuss our current knowledge of ash dieback the disease, based on research that has been conducted throughout Europe.

Biography:

I attained a Master’s degree in biology from the University of Sheffield in 2017, and have also spent time studying at the University of Queensland. I am currently a final year PhD student at Cardiff University and Forest Research, investigating the ecology and pathology of ash dieback disease through a combination of field and laboratory experiments. The project is supervised by Professor Lynne Boddy and Dr Joan Webber, and is funded by DEFRA, Network Rail and The Woodland Trust.

Lisa Fagerli Lunde

Lisa Fagerli Lunde
(Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway)

Session Two: 13:10–13:35

Interactions between arthropods and polypore fruiting bodies

Polypores are the main structural decomposers of dead wood in boreal forests and their fruiting bodies act as microhabitats. Some arthropods live their whole lives inside the brackets whilst others are opportunistic visitors, eating spores and spore eaters but perhaps also aiding spore dispersal.

Biography:

I have a background in biology and have specialised in interaction ecology. My master thesis was on pollination ecology in the subarctic, but I now work as a PhD candidate wit the title "Interactions between arthropods and fungi in dead wood systems". My projects use a wide range of methods from DNA metabarcoding to culturing of fungi from beetles. Consequently, this allows me to do field and lab work, computer analyses, dissemination, travelling and teaching during my PhD. Among other interests I enjoy systematics, sports, gastronomy and literature.

Lynne Boddy

Lynne Boddy
(Cardiff University, UK)

Session Two: 13:35–14:00

Fungus wars and fungal community development

Fungi are rarely found growing alone in nature but usually in communities of other fungi, and also with bacteria and invertebrates. Since they are all competing for space and resources, antagonistic interactions are the norm – fungi fight each other!

Biography:

Lynne Boddy MBE PhD DSc FRSB FLSW is Professor of Mycology at Cardiff University. She is a fungal ecologist who has taught and researched into the ecology of tree-associated fungi, especially those responsible for wood decomposition, for over 40 years. She studies how cord-forming fungi operate as networks that search and respond for new woody resources on the forest floor, how fungi interact with one another and with invertebrates, and how their communities are structured and change with time in rotting wood. Inevitably, nowadays a major emphasis of hers has been on climate change effects on fungi. She is currently focusing on standing trees, investigating heart-rot in deciduous trees, and the ash dieback fungus. She is a prolific author having written well over 250 scientific papers, written or edited six books, including co-authoring the much-acclaimed Fungal Decomposition of Wood, and is chief editor of the journal Fungal Ecology. She has been president of the British Mycological Society, and received many awards for scientific research. Lynne is an ardent communicator of the mysteries and importance of the amazing hidden Kingdom of Fungi to students, arborists, and the general public including TV, radio, videos, popular talks, articles and exhibitions.

Rich Wright

Rich Wright
(Cardiff University, UK)

Session Two: 14:10–14:35

Heart-rot and hollowing of oak

The heartwood of oak is a hostile environment, yet there are species of fungi that have developed traits that allow them to utilise this important carbon resource. Through heartwood decay, these fungi engineer the hollowing of oak trees, recycling resources whilst creating biodiverse habitat.

Biography:

Rich Wright is a PhD researcher looking at heart-rot communities in oak at Cardiff University. He has been delivering educational courses and field studies in mycology for the past ten years and has been a researcher at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, where he continues to be involved in the Plant and Fungi Tree of Life project.

Dan Eastwood

Dan Eastwood
(Swansea University, UK)

Session Two: 14:35–15:00

Sapwood decay in living trees

The natural process of decay development in the absence of wounds is often overlooked. Initial colonisers are usually fungi that are endophytes in sapwood. Modern DNA technology is now allowing us to unravel the complex communities in beech branches and to find out what they are doing.

Biography:

Prof. Dan Eastwood research focuses on the mechanisms fungi use to exploit their environment, grow and reproduce. I have previously worked on fruiting in industrially farmed mushroom-forming fungi and more recently I have focused on the evolution of wood decay processes in saprotrophic basidiomycetes and the functional assessment of the interactions that occur within wood decay communities.

Anne Pringle

Anne Pringle
(University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA)

Session Three: 18:10–18:40

The problem of invasive mycorrhizal fungi

This talk will focus on potential impacts of invasive ectomycorrhizal fungi. In particular, is it possible for scientists to collect baseline data documenting fungal biodiversity, or has the human movement of soil and fungi already irrevocably altered local habitats to the extent that baselines are already lost?

Biography:

Anne Pringle was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and spent her childhood traveling through Southeast Asia and West Africa. After being dragged along on one-too-many birding expeditions, she abandoned the birds for fungi. She was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and then completed a Ph.D. in Botany and Genetics at Duke University. After completing a Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, she joined the faculty at Harvard University. She next moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she is now Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Departments of Botany and Bacteriology. Pringle has given over 100 invited talks to academic and popular audiences in countries including China, Colombia, France, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States. She has been awarded the Alexopoulos Prize for a Distinguished Early Career Mycologist (2010), the Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Harvard University Graduate Student Council (2011), the Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching from Harvard University (2013), and a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship (2011-2012). Her research has been featured by the New York Times, National Public Radio, Slate, and the Wisconsin State Journal, among others. In 2019, Pringle was elected President of the Mycological Society of America.

Jenni Nordén

Jenni Nordén
(Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway)

Session Three: 18:40–19:10

Management for conservation of threatened wood decay fungi

Many wood decay fungi have declined because of modern forestry practices. Traditional conservation methods may be too slow to prevent further species decline, and a combination of different types of set-asides and management actions is likely needed to secure populations in the long term.

Biography:

Dr. Jenni Nordén is a senior scientist in Norwegian Institute for Research Nature (NINA), and an associate professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, affiliated with the University of Helsinki. She is a fungal and forest ecologist, whose research focuses on the survival of fungal species in changing forest landscapes, and more recently also on the functions that fungi have in forest ecosystems, especially in terms of the carbon cycle. Jenni currently leads a project on climate-change and management effects on soil and dead wood organisms and carbon dynamics, and is involved in another large project that compares carbon stocks, biodiversity and ecological processes in mature, previously clear-cut and near-natural boreal forests. Her more long-term studies on species responses to environmental change (habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change), at different spatiotemporal scales, aim is to describe the ecological, demographic, genetic and biotic processes underlying occurrence patterns in the field. Jenni uses both traditional fruit body surveys and modern sequencing-based survey methods, the latter enabling direct measurements of the mycelial and dispersal stages which have earlier been difficult to study in the field. The large body of information on the ecology of individual species, that Jenni has gained during many extensive and detailed field surveys, has been of use in her work on the assessment of fungal species for the Norwegian Red List. Jenni has always been keen to increase the understanding and impact of scientific research in the society, especially through relevant stakeholder contacts.

Register for all-day access to both morning and afternoon sessions – £25 for AA members – £50 for non-members.

Those who buy tickets get 6 months exclusive access to recordings.

Evening Wednesday webinar is FREE to all.

Book morning and afternoon tickets:

Book Here

For FREE evening webinar:

Register Here