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Friday Philosophicals - Winter Semester 2022

Friday Philosophicals with Ala Abdel Rahman and Rachel Rajsp

Ala Abdel Rahman: The interaction of cover crops and entomopathogenic fungi to manage wireworm pest populations
Rachel Rajsp: Investigating the soil microbiome of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Friday Philosophicals run most Fridays by Zoom (check the schedule). Seminars start at 3:30 pm and are expected to end by 4:20 pm.

Each week a Zoom invite will be distributed to bioseminar-ee@uwo.ca. Contact thain@uwo.ca if you are not on this list and need the Zoom login details.

April 23, 2021

Ala Abdel Rahman: The interaction of cover crops and entomopathogenic fungi to manage wireworm pest populations

Ala Abdel Rahman photo Supervisors: Drs. Ian Scott and Hugh Henry

Wireworms, the larval stage of click beetles (Coleoptera; Elateridae), are a significant pest of vegetable crops worldwide. Wireworms have caused considerable damage to corn, wheat, and potato crops in North America, Europe, and Asia. According to recent research, certain cover crops can reduce wireworm populations by using natural compounds released by the growing plant (allelopathy) or after being mulched into the soil (fumigants). I will investigate whether buckwheat, brown mustard, and sorghum-Sudan grass, combined with two different strains of Metarhizium brunneum, an entomopathogenic fungus, could be applied as a strategy to reduce wireworm populations in southwestern Ontario potato fields. This study will also focus on the potential interaction between these allelopathic cover crops and Metarhizium brunneum.

Rachel Rajsp: Investigating the soil microbiome of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Rachel Rajsp photoSupervisor: Dr. Greg Thorn

Ginseng replant disease (GRD) is of high significance to the Ontario ginseng industry as it can cause the complete loss of ginseng crops. Replant disease occurs when a new ginseng crop is planted in a field where ginseng was grown previously. The prevalence of GRD has since limited the amount of land in North America that is available to grow ginseng. Several pathogens that have been discovered to cause rot include: Neonectria, Ilyonectria, Phytophthora and Pythium. This project will investigate new primers that permit identification of individual species of certain target fungi. Using new and pre-existing primers, I will compare the fungal and oomycete communities present in ginseng replant soil (collected in 2022) and the first and fourth years of a new healthy ginseng crop (collected in 2018 and 2022). Next-generation sequencing (NGS) will be used to identify what species are present in the soil for each garden site.

Schedule for the Winter Term 2022

Seminar   Date First Speaker Title Second Speaker Title
21-Jan-22 Jacob Simanek TBA Jessica Stokes-Rees TBA
28-Jan-22 Campbell McKay TBA Scout Thompson TBA
4-Feb-22 Trevor Pettit TBA Jessica Deakin TBA
11-Feb-22 William Laur TBA Corrine Genier TBA
18-Feb-22 Spencer Heuchan TBA Kiana Lee TBA
25-Feb-22 Reading Week
4-Mar-22 Shayla Kroeze TBA Patricia Rokitnicki TBA
11-Mar-22 Mehta Balsara TBA Paul Wan TBA
18-Mar-22 Benjamin Souriol TBA Michael Bonneville TBA
25-Mar-22 Christian Buchanan-Fraser TBA Lauren Witterick TBA
1-Apr-22 Shyanika Nissanka Pedi Durayalage TBA Simone Miklosi TBA