I have a background in fungal ecology and forest pathology. I am interested in understanding the ecology of fungal pathogens and using this knowledge to improve forest management and limit disease. I am currently employed as part of the EU project ISEFOR: Increasing sustainability of European forests: Modelling for security against invasive pests and pathogens under climate change and the Swedish Mistra program Future Forests. My research focuses on detecting newly emerging forest pathogens in Sweden and understanding their ecology under northern European conditions. Currently I am focussing on three pathogens: Dothistroma septosporum, Diplodia pini and Neonectria fuckeliana. I am also interested in understanding the effect of environmental factors such as climate and latitude relationship on needle pathogens and endophytes of Scots pine.
From 2006 to mid-2010 I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Scion (the New Zealand Forest Research Institute). There I worked on the ecology of the pathogen Neonectria fuckeliana, the causal agent of Nectria flute canker in Pinus radiata in New Zealand and Chile. In particular I was interested in understanding the ecology of the pathogen and using this understanding to inform management of the disease in plantation forests. This research was wide ranging in scope from detailed laboratory investigations of the temperature requirements of the pathogen for growth and sporulation to field trials examining potential infection courts and industry-funded projects examining the effect of the pathogen on wood quality and timber yield.
In 2006, I completed my PhD thesis at the University of Tasmania in Australia. My thesis was titled “The taxonomy and ecology of wood-decay fungi in Eucalyptus obliqua trees and logs in the wet sclerophyll forests of southern Tasmania”, supervised by Caroline Mohammed, Simon Grove and Tim Wardlaw. In Australia, it is predicted that over time forest management practices will reduce the amount of coarse woody debris (CWD) in production forests. This CWD is regarded as a critical habitat for biodiversity management in forest ecosystems. Fungi, as one of the most important wood decay agents, are key to understanding and managing biodiversity associated with decaying wood. In Australia, wood-decay fungi are poorly known and the biodiversity associated with CWD has not been well studied. The research carried out in this project concluded that CWD such as old living trees and large diameter logs were important habitats for wood-decay fungi in these forests. This suggested the need for forest managers to consider instigating measures that allow for some trees in the production forest landscape to live long enough to develop decayed wood habitat. This would provide important habitat for fungi as both trees and large diameter logs, sustaining an important component of forest biodiversity.