Biodiversity in rust fungi
Rust fungi are plant pathogens that parasitize ferns, conifers and angiosperms. They cause major diseases on economic plants like wheat, soybean, maize or coffee. Most of the estimated 6000 described rust species grow on wild plants, however, that are not used by man.
We assess and describe the species richness of rust fungi in tropical regions (mainly southern Africa and the neotropics) and investigate their taxonomy. We are also interested in the rust fungi of Switzerland focusing on the alpine region and selected threatened environments like mires.
Rust fungi are a collection focus of the Zurich Herbarium and we have an active imaging programme that aims at linking digitisation with monographic taxonomic studies.