Epidemiology of the pathogens involved in tar spot complex

Description of the topic

Tar spot complex (TSC) is a very important foliar disease of maize in many parts of the Americas. The disease complex involves three different fungal pathogens causing significant maize yield losses in tropical and subtropical areas with relatively cool and humid climates. Because of the complexity of the disease, very little is known about the epidemiology and virulence of each of the three pathogens. In addition, although CIMMYT already has several sources of resistance to this disease, very little is known about the relationship and diversity of the available germplasm and its resistance mechanisms.

Work expectations

The candidate is expected to study the epidemiology of each or some of the three pathogens involved in the complex. This will include investigating modes of pathogen survival (oversummering), transmission, infection, temperature and humidity requirements for pathogen development, among other things. In addition, the candidate will be involved in studies investigating the diversity of the pathogen and plant-pathogen interactions at the phenotypic level and on a molecular level (provided that funds and resources for this are available at the time). Lastly, the candidate will help develop genetic populations for studying TSC and other maize diseases (e.g., northern leaf blight or turcicum leaf blight) and will learn field, laboratory and greenhouse techniques used to improve the disease resistance of maize germplasm.

Required skills

Experience working with maize germplasm and pathogens; willingness to work in the field; ability to work in hot and humid environments; good English skills so the candidate will be able to write and publish scientific papers upon completion of his/her stay at CIMMYT.