Fungi Associated with EAB (Emerald Ash Borer)
My name is Sofia Simeto I am originally from Uruguay and I currently work in the Forest Pathology lab here at the University of Minnesota. We are working on a project that focuses on the fungi associated with the EAB (emerald ash borer). EAB is a very important and devastating insect pest that is killing millions of ash trees all over the country.
This project has been studied a lot and mostly focused on the insect. But the fungi associated with this insect is not well understood. There happens to be a fungal community associated with the insect. The goal of our project is to know what fungi are associated with insects and the groups of them that are present. Another kind of fungi is decay fungi that produce cankers on the trees that ultimately kill them. There are also fungi that kill insects that are called entomopathogenic fungi. Another portion of our project studied the gut microbiome of the emerald ash borer and the effects of the microbiome on the tree. So studying the microbes that the insects have in their organs to understand how those microbial communities help the insects to digest the wood and eventually break the defenses of the tree and make the insect a successful past.
I'm working mainly focused on the decay fungi associated with EAB because once the trees are killed by these insects there is a rapid strength slope of the wood and those trees become dangerous. So we want to understand the role of fungi in that process of decay. I'm also working in the fungi that killed the insect called entomopathogenic fungi. We isolate those from the gallery because those live in the tree and we are trying to characterize those fungi to see which ones kill the insects faster. So we are looking for the more virulent strains. Trying to implement those in integrated pest management. Because entomopathogenic fungi are considered as a safe strategy to control insect pests and those occur naturally in the forest. Ultimately, We think it would be a good contribution to integrated management.