March 8th @ AMC Monthly Meeting

Our guest this month will be Ryan Kepler. He will offer a talk on “Insect Pathogens of the Appalachians.” This broad overview of insect-associated fungi will focus on Cordyceps and related fungi. If you had the pleasure of hearing Ryan give this talk at NAMA Shenandoah Foray, you'll know that he makes this fascinating topic accessible to a general audience with not too much in terms of the hardcore science methods.

Ryan Kepler is currently a researcher in the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Primary research interests include the evolution and genetics of fungi used in biological control of plant pests and the diversity of microbes and nematodes in agricultural soils. His research has relied on the use of traditional field studies, molecular data and computational biology to understand fungal relationships and community structure. This work has involved global collaborations with collaborators in Japan, China, Colombia and Europe. He has extensive experience with the forests of Southern Appalachia from his time as a student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and from conducting surveys of insect pathogenic fungi during his graduate schooling at Oregon State University.