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Novel associations between ophiostomatoid fungi, insects and tree hosts: current status—future prospects

Wingfield, Michael J., Barnes, Irene, de Beer, Z. Wilhelm, Roux, Jolanda, Wingfield, Brenda D., Taerum, Stephen J.
Biological invasions 2017 v.19 no.11 pp. 3215-3228
Ceratocystidaceae, Ophiostomataceae, bark, ecological invasion, emerging diseases, forestry, forests, fruit trees, fungi, hosts, humans, insects, pathogens
Associations between fungal tree pathogens and insects have been recognized for at least 100 years. An important group of these fungi, termed ‘ophiostomatoid fungi’ on account of their morphological similarity, are represented by genera in the families Ceratocystidaceae and Ophiostomataceae. Associations between these fungi, tree-colonizing insects, and host trees have been actively researched since their first discovery. Human activities have led to the global movement of fungi from both families, resulting in the establishment of new and sometimes damaging associations between these fungi, insects and trees. Recent ‘black swan’ events have resulted in an unprecedented increase of ambrosia and bark beetle-associated diseases of forest and fruit trees. We revisit some of the most important emergent diseases caused by the ophiostomatoid fungi, outline the reasons behind the emergence of these diseases, and consider long-term prospects regarding the threats that they pose to forestry and agriculture.